Here’s one I didn’t run a few weeks ago when I was depressed.
I’m really getting tired of words
I heard an old Bob Marley song yesterday, and it cheered me up. It was that song about the birds, and it’s so short, I’ll quote the whole thing:
Rise up this morning, smile with the rising sun,
three little birds by my doorstep
Singing sweet songs, melodies pure and true,
Singing, “This is my message to you.”
Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be alright,
Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be alright.
It’s been one of those months where every time I turn around, I step in dog poo. Every time I open my mouth, venom comes out.
The book of James says we should be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.
I’ve always been envious of those people who are slow to speak. They look so wise and mysterious. Most of us talk too much and say too little.
I’ve never been slow to speak, but I used to be slow to anger. Lately I’ve lost that skill as well. I’ve been yelled at more in the last year than I had in the previous 25, so now I pick up the phone ready to defend myself. I sit in my office with the door closed, hissing and baring my teeth.
James also says the tongue is a fire. “No one can tame the tongue,” he says. “It is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.”
The same is true of the written word. Lately when I put pen to paper, the words burn a hole in the page.
The poison pen thing comes naturally to me. I didn’t cry when the doctor spanked me. I looked at him with righteous indignation and began forming my arguments.
I’m sure the guy who said “The pen is mightier than the sword” knew it could be deadlier, too. Without Hitler’s words, his tanks and bombs would’ve sat idle.
I came to this job a year ago, thinking it was a perfect fit. I thought I was good at getting along with people I disagreed with, which is important for a newspaper editor. Over the last year, I’ve proven myself wrong.
We don’t take our job here lightly, or make decisions without thinking of the consequences. We know people get hurt by what we do, but we also know people expect us to do it anyway. Many stories turn to burdens that we carry home. They wake us up at night. They yell and swear and cry.
As if the real yelling wasn’t enough.
After an especially bad Monday last week, I went jogging Tuesday morning and saw a dicksissel. It’s a little bird that looks like a meadowlark but doesn’t sing as sweetly. I had only seen two others in my life, one 20 years ago in Illinois and one two years ago, on the very wire where I saw it Tuesday. “Dick-sis-sis-el” it said. It cheered me up the way no words could. I thought to myself, “It should be called a ‘dicksississel’.”
When I got home, I told Diane about it. We were sitting on the porch, watching the light fade and listening to the kids play. Diane used to be an ornithologist, before she became a nurse midwife. She said, “They actually say, ‘Dick-sis-sis-el’, don’t they?”
“Yeah,” I said.
“It should be called a ‘dicksississel’,” she said.
I kept trying to say it, but it wasn’t easy: dick-sis-sis-el, dick-sis-sis-el.
I’m starting over with words. I’m going to choose them slowly and carefully, using only the ones that James and Bob Marley’s birds would approve of.
So far I have one.