(First published January 25, 2017. Still true.)
I am dissatisfied with the quality of reflection that I am hearing these days.
There is the kind of name calling that I find demeaning and diminishing of people. Words are chipped from blocks of ice and dropped with freezing precision on dreams and new ideas. Adjectives are measured into saucepans with tainted sugar, brought to a boil and then simmered until they are as sticky as caramel, bitter as aspirin. Then are they poured over naming nouns, forever modifying that one to “Foolish”, that one to “mindless” and that one to “bigoted”.
And I am aware of all of this reflection before I have a chance to pay attention to any of the things that anyone else is saying.
What I say and what I think about myself is devastating. What I think but don’t say about others still shapes my interactions with them. Which shapes them.
This realization may be why David’s words started echoing in my ears today: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 ESV.
These are the last words of a prayer that is attributed to David, shepherd and songwriter and king of Israel. In the words and thoughts before this, he gives a model of the kind of words and meditation that could be delightful for God to overhear. Metaphoric reflection on creation. Thoughtful exploration of the nature of God’s words. Humble self-examination of both intentional and unintentional actions.
Just reading through these words every morning for a week before turning to the accumulation of overnight discourse could provide a check on my reactions. In fact, by reading someone else’s prayer enough, it may actually stick to my heart. Like life-giving caramel.