"The unspoken word is capital. We can invest it or we can squander it."- Mark Twain
The house was always full of noisy chatter. The women of the Hall Family were never short on three things: Coffee, education, and opinions...and they never hesitated to share any of them with others whenever possible.
Thanksgivings and Christmases in Canoe, Alabama were more like week-long seminars on every profession represented by the clan matriarchs. History, law, literature, politics, cooking, farming and Bible were taught to us "chilrin" at a very early age.
My cousins and I were little more than spectators in these conversations, but the practice of obtaining knowledge and sharing it with others was the skill we learned. The importance of the spoken and written word was fully and deeply impressed upon me, but little noticed to me at the time was the importance of the unspoken word being modeled under the same roof.
My Uncle Glynn grew up in East Texas, attended Texas A&M, and farmed his whole life. If something needed to be done, talking about it would yield the least amount of progress toward accomplishing it, which is why his verbal communications were kept rather short and to a point.
"Fence needs to be fixed" and poof, he was gone.
We wouldn't see him until several hours later when the fence had indeed been fixed. In contrast, if one of the Hall women would have been charged with the same task, there would have been the grandest and most elaborate plan to repair a fence ever conceived, but the entire herd of Black Angus cows would have been out roaming Highway 97 before the fence was mended.
Similarly my father modeled the same action-based approach to life as my Uncle.
My mother would say "I have a headache." The description of the headache would have been well-documented and the lament of a lack of Advil in the house would have been long-suffered, but the absence of Advil would have persisted for quite some time if Daddy had not already been to the pharmacy and brought back an assortment of anti-headache resources.
Now, I'm not saying the women in my family were helpless or inert, but the idea of communicating about the problem before fixing it was a familial imperative.
I tried to practice the best of both philosophies in my life: communicate a rational and reasonable approach to an issue clearly and concisely, then go about executing the plan as efficiently as possible; but I tended to "list toward" the talking portion more than the action....and that needed to change.
I'd like to tell you that it was the wisdom of that realization that motivated me to a more constant and involved action in faith, but instead it was the need-based, fear-induced exploration of almost losing my marriage, a cancer diagnosis, and seeing first-hand God's healing power over the human body and heart that moved me to actively seek Him at the age of 28.
In January of 2009 I began working with the youth at Woodmont Hills. As I watched the active faith of the teenagers and heard God's message through spirit-led ministers, I finally understood the concept of keeping my mouth shut and eyes open; I had entered a season of silence.
My posting today is not declaring the end of this season (it ain't over) but rather to begin relaying and sharing whatever limited thoughts and experiences I have that possess the possibility of carrying God's message of love and our covenant of service to others who wish to hear it.
I plan on blogging more frequently, but whatever is written will likely not have anything to do with my political or collegial football dispositions. Life is not merely made up of contrived symbols and ideologies that separate us from one another, but rather a shared human condition and the universal search for a meaning more than what we see from our own narrow perspective.
I don't plan on being thought-provoking, but if the thoughts WE share lead to action, then God be praised.
I'll go ahead and apologize if my writing is a little rusty for a while. I'll be working on it.
The picture posted above is an example of faith-in-action....being led by teenagers. It's a sight that ignited the hope of unrealized dreams I have for future generations. I hope you'll be part of it. I hope I'll be part of it.