This morning I read something that broke my heart, made me angry, annoyed me, frustrated me, made me sad … pick a negative emotion. My initial response was to copy the text of what I read in order to email it to a friend so that she would affirm my negative emotion surrounding it.
I stopped myself. It wasn’t (isn’t) necessary to involve anyone else in the ugly things that happen in my head and it wouldn’t take that long to get rid of them anyway, I have a million other things that pass through my brain during the day and today looks as if it will be a busy one.
The thing is, I then read this little passage in my Facebook News Feed – another friend had posted it. I realized it was important for me to pay attention to these words, not those I had read earlier.
Every single Sunday morning, my father used this short prayer from Psalm 19 before he preached his sermon. He would say, “Let the words of my mouth …” the congregation would respond with “and the meditation of my heart …” and together we would finish the verse “be acceptable in they sight, O Lord, my rock and redeemer.”
After a while, it became rote for me, as things do when you repeat them weekly for years and years. But I found that when I was no longer in Dad’s churches, I missed those words. I missed the simple meaning and lesson they offered.
When I initially read the words that annoyed me this morning, I knew I wouldn’t react publicly to them. That’s not what I do. People can say the things they need to say without me reacting to them. No, what I was going to do was much worse. I was going to turn that minor annoyance into a conversation with yet another person – simply to get affirmation that I was right, these words were rotten and the person who wrote them had to be just as rotten.
I can’t cause anyone else’s words and thoughts to be filled with grace and I will probably always be annoyed, angry, sad, upset (pick a negative emotion) when I read or hear nasty things. I can, however, continue to learn to make my words and thoughts acceptable, whether they are public or private – out there for everyone to read or her, or even spoken among a few friends. I am over fifty years old and it continues to be a struggle, when my initial reaction is so far from this, but at the same time I am over fifty years old and know that I can still learn.