Castles in the Sand

When the waters rise, will our castles remain?

I’m writing this as an introduction to a newly rededicated effort to write and post more here.

I have a confession to make.

I have been holding my tongue for a long time, declining to speak about things I see around me. I didn’t want to provoke controversy or upset people I care about.

It was really the easiest thing to do. The second easiest would have been to scorch the earth with hateful words condemning everyone and everything. Maybe that’s why we’ve reached the point we’re at culturally where everything is divided and hate is everywhere.

Periodically, I would feel convicted about my silence. As I would have one-on-one conversations with people, they would challenge me. “You should be writing about this,” they would say.

I always brushed it off. There was always a reason to do so.

I still have many of those reasons, while others have disappeared as often happens in life. The biggest reason is my own comfort. That’s the easiest to cling to, and the hardest to move past. But that’s what I’m going to do.

So here I am, about to make two promises. Both are equally important, and if you choose to follow me through this process, I genuinely hope you remember both.

First, I’m going to speak my truth. Now, I say “my” truth not because I believe truth is relative (I very much do not believe that), but because I recognize that anything and everything I see and believe has been framed through the lens of my own experiences, personality, and ideas. Everything requires context, including myself.

Second, I’m going to speak in love. As I said before, there are a lot of things in this world that make it hard not to speak out in anger and hate. But as we’ve seen, that only makes everything worse. This does not mean I won’t call things out. But it does mean that I will carefully choose my words in an effort to ensure they come from a place of love and encouragement to be and do better.

Does this mean I will always succeed in saying things the way they need to be said? Absolutely not – my wife can definitely vouch for the fact that I often misspeak and convey things in ways I never intended to. But I will ask to consider the same thing I’ve requested from her: please try not to dismiss things if I say them poorly, but rather consider the heart and recognize the place they are coming from.

Honestly, this is (I believe) the biggest thing we lack in our conversations today. We naturally judge others by their words and actions while judging ourselves by our intent. But the responsibility for accurate communication falls on the side of the speaker; it is their job to ensure they properly convey their meaning so the listener understands. Any misunderstanding points to the speaker not being clear enough for the specific listener. And everyone is different.

So, as I begin this process and challenge myself to speak truth in love, I will simultaneously be striving to remove all planks from my own eye. And I’m sure I will miss many. But if we all wait until we are perfect before striving to make changes, this world has no hope.

I’m sure I’m not the only one saying any of the things I’ll be sharing, and I’m sure many others have or will say it better. But if we all choose not to speak because others might say it better, this world has no hope.

With that confession out of the way, thank you for considering what I have to contribute to the conversation. Some of the things I post will be more innocuous reflections of experiences I have, while others will focus more on issues I see around me and my efforts to see the world through the lens of love and empathy. Let’s try to move past just a little bit of the hate in the world together.

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