“I’d like to reflect on what it might mean to be good stewards of language - what it might mean to retrieve words from the kinds of misuse, abuse, and distortion to which they’ve been subjected of late, and to reinvigorate them for use as bearers of truth and as instruments of love.” - Marilyn McEntyre, Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies
I have been following these daybook posts this Lent, written by Tamara Murphy, to help fully engage with the meaning of Lent and realize more and more my daily need for my Savior. I appreciate my friend’s thoughtfulness in putting together these posts, where she includes “Look” (some sort of visual), “Listen” (a meaningful song), “Read” (Scripture), “Pray” (some form of special prayer), and “Do” (a task for the day/week). The first four are relatively easy and quick to finish. The “Do” section actually takes more time and sacrifice (😱). But when I committed to “fully engage”, I decided that had to include the “Do” section of the posts, as well. This has brought me on a journey that I did not expect: showing me God’s mercy when confronted with my sin and overwhelming guilt, and removing my usual coping mechanisms so all I can do is turn to Jesus.
These are all posts for another day. Today, I just want to reflect on the weekly fast that we just completed, namely fasting from all emojis and any other replacements for language, like social media “likes”. At first I thought would be easy and a little bit silly, but it actually turned into a great experiment on love and language, and I would like to share a few of my reflections:
-I use social media “likes” as a form of laziness. I don’t want to comment about what I’m really thinking (“what a cute baby” or “I’ll be praying for you!”) so I just press “like” and move on. This past week, I had to be a lot more discerning. If I felt strongly enough to “like” something, I actually had to use the words! And being on the other side of posting, I know the words are actually a lot more meaningful than the number of “likes”.
-Sometimes I use emojis as a form of laziness, too. And sometimes I don’t! Sometimes I spend a few agonizing minutes trying to find just the right symbol (or series of symbols) to express exactly what I am feeling and/or doing. But how is the other person supposed to know the difference? The only way for a person to know I’ve put thought into what I am saying is to actually write out the words.
-I had to express my feelings more than I am usually comfortable with. There are a lot of people that I love, but it feels much less vulnerable to just say “❤️” than to say “I love you.” Usually that’s what I mean when I add a “❤️”, but for some reason, I feel like I’m giving over more of me when I have to say the words.
-Text conversations last a lot longer! It’s just an easy way to end a conversation when you can jot off a quick “❤️😘”. That usually means “Love ya, bye” when you get that from me. But instead, I’d have to write: “I love you, friend. Hope you have a great day. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Etc etc etc. This actually led to some very sweet exchanges, but definitely not as convenient!
-My laziness knows no bounds. By the end, I had more and more conversations like this (mostly with my husband, who knew what I was doing):
I won’t be giving up emojis again any time soon, but I do think this helped me to realize how lazy I’ve become in my language. Emojis are fun and cute (and help to indicate joking when it’s hard to express that in texts!) but I want to make more of an effort to really tell people how I feel and show them the respect that they deserve.