I use my words. This is the theme of my blog.
I use my words and I’ve also misused them. In pursuit of a good life, I've relied on words to create my reality. Indeed, I've written my way into a new reality.
But have I neglected living this good life?
Two Fridays ago, I found out I didn't have cancer. Later, I found myself alone in a bar, staring into a martini glass. I felt a deep, dark wave of uncertainty wash over me. I felt discouraged.
I stared into my martini glass and I wondered: what good are my words if, after using them all, I am still sitting alone in a doctor's office waiting to hear if I have cancer? Words cannot protect me from stark reality.
Words, in the end, can only point to reality. Reality itself must be experienced directly and although using my words has helped point me toward reality, I must also indwell them.
The Word became flesh. And then what? The Word dwelt among us. It wasn't enough for the eternal Logos to become human. The Word lived the human experience.
Words make me human, but now I must take the second step and indwell them.
My fault is not in using words or even misusing them. The illusion I built was in believing that words alone could create the connection and community I longed to live. I've written my way into an authentic state of being, but I haven't balanced that with dwelling in it. It’s like writing about love without ever experiencing love itself.
What good are words if they do not create authentic connection? Why have I invested so much time and energy into the online world—seeking connection—while right next to me are living, breathing human beings also seeking connection?
That was the illusion I saw. I saw the illusion of online connection. Which is to say, the illusion of online connection that never goes beyond words on this screen.
I want more of the going-beyond-the-screen. I want more indwelling. More realness.
And yes, my words have done good: 60+ children in Bolivia were sponsored last year as a result of my words. My daughter can attend ballet school this summer because my words touched some of you. Using my words brought me a literary agent. And now, I'm using my words to live my lifelong dream: writing a book.
Even so, I want to make sure I'm not only writing my words, I'm living them.
We are, perhaps, living in the most “connected” time in history. We have Facebook and Twitter and blogs and YouTube. But with all our "connection," we are still isolated. I see it every single day at the restaurant where I wait tables: young couples come in and spend half their time together staring into their cell phones.
Online connection means nothing if it does not give birth to real life community. And what is community? It is a place beyond words. It is the living and the serving and the loving of those right beside you. It is the dwelling among others.
Upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Mother Teresa was asked how to accomplish world peace. "Go home and love your family," she said.
Go home and love your family.
This is how we create community.
I am guilty of becoming far too attached to my blog, my stats, my "readership," my "platform," my "influence." This all means nothing if I do not have the checks and balances of a real-life community keeping me honest, keeping me humble. I must balance using my words with living my words.
Jesus lived the Word and it was His Way of living the Word that changed everything.
Words without indwelling are powerless.
In the bar, my phone buzzes. It's my husband texting me.
"Come home now."
So, I do. I go home and love my family.
This is where indwelling begins.