One of the limitations of the written word versus the spoken one is that we are not always sure if a comment is made tongue in cheek, or taken seriously without benefit of knowledge of the person, a smiley face, or the old standard LOL! at the end. So, last night, after putting something on my feed that I thought was funny, I found out that other people were offended.
You know what? I'm offended sometimes, too. I have a belief system that guides me, and I do the best that I can to interpret what I'm taught. I'm not perfect, nor have I ever professed to be. But I know what I'm not, and I am most assuredly not the six letter word that was put on my feed - racist.
I don't particularly like President Barack Hussein Obama. I don't like his politics, who he surrounds himself with, his lack of experience, and his insistence on making major changes that bring us a bigger government. But the fact that the man had a black father is irrelevant to me. Now, if I had whipped out another six letter word...the mother of all racial epithets...the "n" word...then what I was labeled with might have held water.
Labels...we assign them to people...and once received...the people often leave them on there like we do the tag on a new pillow. It is almost as if we cannot shed the label, so we just leave it there...like we can't remove it by penalty of law or something.
Words are powerful things. They have the ability to make us laugh, or cry, or think. They give us ways to group, classify or organize. But they also give us a mental picture, don't they? And those of us who are big fans of words...and who like to write...have a responsibility to use that gift to build others up and not tear them down. That's my take on it, anyway.
Six letter words...I came up with negative words like stupid, trashy, psycho, critic, whiner and boring. Anyone want those labels? I certainly don't. But we toss those words out either in jest or in anger...and we cut people to the core with them. I wouldn't throw a knife at someone for fear of nicking them in the process. I just wish that people were at least half that rational about the words that they use.
I then thought of some positive six letter words that I do identify with such as mother, writer, mentor, banker, helper, and friend. These are more in line with who I believe myself to be.
Oh, I'll admit to times of using my words inappropriately. I've thrown out things that I wish I could take back...and sometimes I'll actually erase something I post because I am sensitive to the fact that sometimes it is either none of my business, something beyond my ability to understand, or will come across as a slight when nothing could be further from the truth.
Now some of you may think that I am being a little too sensitive about this. And perhaps I am. But none of us likes to have anyone think of us in a way that is clearly NOT representative of who they know us to be. You can love people without loving what they do. And we can all see things totally differently but find enough in common to remain friends. Or at least that is what I have always believed was possible.
So, I'll focus on the six letter words that I know myself to be, and will use another one (ignore) for anyone who doesn't think enough of me to give me the benefit of the doubt. I'll try to be loving anyway, celebrate successes, and value them as individuals. Because frankly...life is just too short for anything less.