This week begins, at least in my real life experience, a quest to further my writing ambition….Or is it obsession? I can’t keep it straight. Anyway, before I begin this particular part of the journey I feel the need to confess a deep secret that I would imagine might be relevant to the pursuit. Actually it’s not that deep of a secret. Those who know me best know what it is. For the rest, here it is. I have a deep seated resentment for vowels. It may sound a bit strange from someone who is pursuing a writing obsession. I mean, I don’t know a whole lot about grammar and sentence structure, but I do know that vowels are pretty crucial to the writing process. Just think if they weren’t used. Words would be pretty hard to decipher. The Valentines I gave to my wife would say things like “ Lv Y” and “Kss M” instead of the simple I Love You and Kiss Me that is so much easier and so much more rewarding. Even those who communicate in the cellular mode need a few vowels to clear the air. I don’t have a problem with those. The vowels I’m speaking of are the kind that cost you $250 a pop. You know the ones I speak of. They are the “I’d like to buy a vowel” kind of vowels. They infuriate me.
It has gotten bad enough for me that in recent years I can no longer bring myself to watch “Wheel of Fortune”. The problem for me is that, for the most part, people already know what letter lies behind the blinking block. Either that or, worse, they already know the whole phrase in question. People spin a wheel, they gain some cash, and then they throw it away needlessly. It’s infuriating. It causes me to yell irrationally at the television. Why don’t they just hand them the bills so they can roll them up and smoke them? Sometimes I get so angry that it causes me to get spiteful and vengeful and all those other things that one can get “ful” of. When a vowel buyer gets another spin I very vocally express my desire for them to land on bankrupt, to lose it all and to find out how the rest of us live. It’s pretty disturbing I know. I’m talking more of my response than the television. Maybe there’s a reason I no longer own guns.
I know that I’m supposed to be bigger than all this. I’m supposed to be mature in my television viewing. My “pastoral arts” calling demands that I not be judgmental. And really, over all, I do a fair job, except when Vanna comes on screen. So I’ve chosen the biblical path to avoid sin. I flee. Upon further examination, I’m beginning to understand even more clearly that, in my life as it is in the life of other wheel watchers, art imitates life.
As I struggle to grow and lead within a faith community, my mind keeps wandering back to the annoying vowels that keep people from advancing another step in their faith journey. I’ve realized a profound parallel. You might not think it profound, but this is my blog and I’ll define it that way if I want. Anyway, I believe, for the most part, that people already know what the phrase is that they are seeking to solve. They at least, most often, know the vowel that lies behind the blinking block. They certainly know that it’s going to cost them to turn it over, and yet they do it anyway. They may solve the puzzle, but the profit is so much less because of the insistence on wasting on what is already known.
I spend my life teaching and trying to make applicable wisdom from the Book of all books. It’s the only book of its kind in the world and everything that needs to be known is made known through it. The interesting, and frustrating thing is that so many people already know the phrases. They’re just fearful of completing them. I’m not sure if it’s a case of “it can’t be this easy”, or just what it is. Sometimes things are no more complicated than the words on the pages. They just need to be done. We may need to, in our infinite human stubbornness, insist that there’s more that we can or have already added on our own behalf. Sometimes it just is what it says. “Just answer the puzzle!", I want to say. You already know the vowels, and occasionally a few consonants as well. It says this, so do it. We have obedience issues. The humanness intervenes, interferes, and otherwise divides our intent and reduces the impact that we could have had. We’ll probably get there in the end as long as the puzzle of who Jesus is gets solved within our individual lives. I know a great many incredible people of faith who are one day going to join me at the end of the journey complete with the bonus round and everything that’s been promised. Some of us, I fear, will have completed the journey so much less than we could have been because of our reluctance to “just do it”. Some won’t complete it at all in the manner that was intended. I’m well aware of the danger in my own life. Some call me simple, because I have a simple faith. I believed that Jesus was who he said He was. I believed the Book is what it claimed to be. I accepted, repented, submitted to baptism and began life on the narrow path. It hasn’t been easy, to be sure, but it’s all there, spelled out. Some want to add or detract, to make it more complicated or more convenient. Some are waiting for a “closer to completed” picture. However we wish it to be, it is what it is. The rest is only vowels.