Use your words. That’s what I told my young kids when they were on the verge of a tantrum and I wanted to walk them back from the ledge. I wanted to help them find their words so we could work on things together.
Speak with your feet. That’s what I told my players at halftime when they whined about the way the other team’s players were conducting themselves. They already knew how to use their words. I wanted to help them discover how they could express themselves in ways that would right the wrong.
Over the last month, the women of the US Women’s National Soccer team have been holding their tongues, minding their words and carefully crafting their interviews in order to keep the focus on their efforts on the field. On July 7th, they spoke firmly and convincingly with their feet. Now, upon the platform they have built, board by board and nail by ever-loving nail, they are using their words.
I was particularly struck by this video segment of Anderson Cooper’s interview with USWNT star, Megan Rapinoe. While I don’t see eye to eye with Rapinoe on all matters or methods, I was startled at the presence of mind she showed and the calm confidence she displayed when Cooper asked, “What is your message to the President?” She was fully ready to bring her words to the table … honestly, sincerely and respectfully.
Wow. How would I respond? What would I say if everything hung in the balance? Could I, without malice or emotional-hijacking, speak for myself in a way that could unite, motivate and inspire in these turbulent times?
Because currently, I’m not okay with my world. I’m watching people, some of whom I truly love and respect, acting in ways I would never have expected and I am finding them difficult to love. But, love I must.
And frankly, sticking my fingers in my ears and humming is just not an option for me. I hurt for our world. I feel it deeply, as I am meant to. But God has provided a way to stand up under the weight of it: I can use my words to share what I know — about the miraculous human body, human mind, human soul, and human spirit — a divine design made to risk letting us feel pain so we could know love and what love does.
How can we do otherwise, since out of the greatest suffering that ever was came the Light of a new day.
Listen deeply to yourself. Be honest and truthful. When you hear, “Thank you. Oh, thank you for caring and for taking care of me.” Do more of that.