Wednesday, January 12, 2011


It happened again. We were at WalMart this afternoon and someone said something ugly about my son. Loud enough for me to hear them, loud enough for several people to hear them.It was rude, it was hurtful, and it was totally unnecessary.

I have been trying to write a new post since the weekend. I was really shocked by the shootings in Arizona, and it brought lots of memories up for me. I am a gun violence survivor. Not once, not twice, but 3 times. Twice I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was a random victim. The third time I admit, it was personal and may be the only time you will hear me say thank goodness he wasn't sober! The one that was the scariest was the one where a teenager and his buddies were bored and decided a way to liven up a Saturday night was to take dad's handgun and go shooting out storefronts.

I was in college, working as a waitress and bar tending at a hotel restaurant and bar. I had finished my shift, and since my car was in the shop was sitting in the front of the hotel lobby waiting for my ride. I was sitting on a couch in a large bay window. I saw car lights and started to get up. I KNOW I was saved by something-an angel, a spirit, God- I started to stand up and felt someones hands on my shoulders. I was pushed back down on the couch. Just as the car pulled even with the window, I saw the arm extended out the passenger window, and I saw the handgun. I saw the flash of the muzzle, and was paralyzed in fear. The bullet grazed the top of my forehead. If I had been standing I would have been shot in the middle of my chest and the outcome would have been something different.

Violence has been part of my life since before I was born. I was raised in a dysfunctional family. My parents used a leather strap-a barbers razor strop- as a method of discipline. So I have scars from a strap, and scars from bullets giving testimony to the fact that this is a violent world. The physical scars are not the worst of the scars however. The worst scars that I bear are the scars from the words.

Words are used as weapons more often than guns, knives, or leather straps, and the scars that they leave are harder to heal. Words are important, and the way they are used is important. We as a culture, as a society need to admit this. We as a culture need to stop pointing fingers, and look into our own hearts and change the way we toss words around. We need to bear witness to the importance of words.

I don't care whether the troubled young man is a liberal or conservative. I don't care that the congresswoman was a Republican or a democrat. I DO care that we live in a society where anyone who is different is marginalized. Where a politician or a pundit can rant and rave and use words in such a way that it might encourage people to solve their issues with violence. Yes I said might. It doesn't matter to me whether anyone means for their words to be used that way. Any reasonably intelligent adult knows that when you use words to demonize, to marginalize, those words are immature.

I blog, and I post on facebook. I lost 2 friends this holiday season because I spell Christmas with an X most of the time. Yes, I write Xmas. I do it on purpose. I have a good reason, and I have been rebuked for it. No one, however, has ever asked me why I do it. They just take offense and make hateful remarks, and let me know that I am not  the right kind of Christian. SO in their mind I become an other, and it is OK to hurt my feelings.

Christians, whether you are the right kind or not, should know that words are important. That words can change people and events and the world.That words can have evil consequences. So instead of prevaricating, instead of dithering, we all need to stop, to say enough is enough, and take responsibility.We have to make sure that we use words to encourage, to support, to love, in love. We know how important words are, and we need to remember that that person you are using words to marginalize is someones son or daughter. Someone loves that person, and God loves that person, and using words to hurt someone is wrong. It leaves ugly scars, maybe not in the other person, but certainly in the heart of the person that uses words for evil. Scars that will harden your heart and make it harder for you to see love in the world.

In the beginning was the WORD, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.....words are not meant to be weapons.

Just me ranting and raving!

Peace and Blessings,

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