Lent 21


doughnuts
noun

invented in America in the nineteenth century; a small fried cake of sweetened dough, typically in the shape a ring, sometimes a ball, or oval filled with custard, cream or jelly.

something someone at work always gets about 5 dozen of on casual Fridays; and I eat so much I am glad I am not wearing my dress pants and end the day feeling bad about my food choices.

doughnuts
noun
one of the greatest instrumental hip hop albums of all time, by J Dilla, one of the premier producers of the genre in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century.

an album I would describe as light and airy, even with the hard-hitting beats, a go to soundtrack for life when I am feeling low and want to feel better about my day.

I know my examples are silly. But sometimes it takes something silly to remind us of something so obvious. Words have tremendous power. They can evoke strong feelings attached to images and lots of other words, whether positive or negative. And those connotations are deeply embedded in personal experience.

Working with words, being truly in love with words, has not completely prevented me – at times – from using words flippantly. I have been prone to let the words hate and love roll of of my tongue far too easily. ‘I hate myself for eating that third doughnut.’ ‘I love Dilla’s Doughnuts record.’ Sure, I am disappointed in a choice I made. But the labeling and grandiose judgement making, associated with cognitive distortions is not going to be helpful to me the next time someone brings a box of doughnuts to work. Or the next time someone pisses me off. I really hate dislike that I have sometimes said I hate people, sometimes even people I truly love. Likewise, while I really like Dilla’s Doughnuts, and find parts of it transcendent even, it’s not my daughter.

We often use words in attempt to describe the things that bring us the most joy or pain: family, community, friend, church, god and well… love.

We may be speaking about something that is a source of great joy or hope for us and be using language that taps into a deep reservoir of pain for someone else. I have hurt people in my life with words. I have hurt people defending or trying to spread my beliefs about god. I have also hurt people trying to express my disillusionment with god as I was nurtured to believe in him/her/it.

I am sure I have done this across a wide array of subject matters, some which I am completely oblivious to. I want to be very careful, more mindful with the words I use, how and when I use them. Words are important. Words truly are my oldest friend and yes, my first love.

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