Have you ever heard the word phrase talk is cheap? What does that even mean?! Talk is most definitely not cheap. It costs focus, attention, redirected resources and of course, the absolute most important, valuable time. So why then would people say talk is cheap? I vote for a rephrase to, “talk is empty.”
Those of you that know me know how much I value communication. I value clarity of language. If I think I misunderstood you then I want to immediately clarify so as to avoid any discrepancy later down the road. If I think there’s a chance you may not know my affinity for you I want to share it with you immediately and repetitively so that there will never be any question about it.
I was in junior high when the Internet first came out. Some of you will remember dial-up. The fun cling and clang sounds and the static noise bouncing back-and-forth while a connection between you and the outside world was being formed. Hours of missed phone calls while you monopolized the home’s landline in order to reach out to explore beyond your four walls. I believe instant messaging came out in early high school. I remember vividly, my brilliant attorney father, calling us into his office in order to break down what we would and would not share via text. He was clear. We would share nothing. Because anything and everything that we sent into the world in black-and-white, or in pixel, would never return to us complete. It would always be owned by so many others and rarely the ones we intended it to belong too. He informed us that everything we shared had an even higher percentage of being misinterpreted because it lacked inflection. That even the face characters we created could be misunderstood or misrepresent our intention. He taught us very early that if we read something that didn’t sit well we should clarify. Hell, he taught us that when communicating with anyone if we heard something that didn’t sit well we should clarify. I remember very clearly my parents having us edit punitive letters and contracts from school in red pen and sending them back unsigned. Insisting that the institution needed to communicate clearly and precisely before we would agree to anything. Often times they would have us write an amendment in the margin.
Do a Google search on misinterpretation, misunderstanding or arguments and you’ll be inundated with quotes like, “90% of arguments are caused by a misunderstanding of communication.” Or, “Four out of five arguments are created from miscommunication.” Most of which are just opinions and not necessarily factual data which is why they are not represented here. But it goes without saying that miscommunication can quickly result in actions that would otherwise be avoided with a specificity of language or elucidation.
Regardless of the topic of discussion, clarity of language matters. When you’re trying to maintain a relationship, when you’re trying to end a relationship, when you’re playing a sport, taking a trip or just telling a joke, clarity of language is essential. I pride myself on my ability to converse with definitive convictions and even I struggle with this on a regular basis. Just recently I had a discussion with a best friend where I was certain I knew the end objective and in all reality we were headed down two completely different paths. Had we not discussed this, briefly but completely, our entire friendship would have an altogether different dynamic. A five minute discussion saved our friendship. When I left there I couldn’t help but contemplate the journey at hand. The constant mechanics and moving parts logistically. How even the most permanent things can seem so finite.
The other day we were driving in the car and my children were watching the movie Madagascar. One of their favorite scenes came on when MElman, the giraffe, comes out of the bathroom with a mint in his mouth. They laugh uncontrollably. And the lion, Alex, yells, “This is not a field trip!” For some reason it hit me on a cellular level. Isn’t this a field trip? Isn’t all of life a giant field trip? But the thing about field trips is they are fleeting. They are numbered. They are overly planned I’ll be at well executed. So no, life is not a field trip, it’s a calling for constant movement.
I am often scolded by many of you for having a propensity for needing my exact functioning parameters. It’s the military in me. I don’t need directions to accomplish a goal but I do need a goal. I don’t need play-by-play in order to execute a directive but I do need a directive. I am very good at mission execution as long as I know the mission. I am learning in my life that people would much prefer to function out of the habitual rhetoric then to act with a goal or a mission in mind. I cannot tolerate monotony. I hate the redundancy of living in the same place and living the same way as everyone around me. It feels aimless and lazy to me. Where contented satisfaction is derived from I will never understand. It’s not something I have ever felt fulfilled in my life. I need my end objective. I need to know what it is I am moving towards. Because I cannot understand standing still. And because once I know what my objective is I AM GOING TO ACHIEVE IT. There is so much world out there to discover, explore and learn from. With all of the hands-on research and education available to us how could anyone choose to learn it all electronically and not hands-on? I’m a down in the dirt kind of girl.
As of late I feel like everyone surrounding me is talking about what is to come. Everyone is insisting on what they will do. There are stories regaled of the past and unplanned dreams of the future. But no one is in motion. And even the mere suggestion of me mobilizing has created quite a tumultuous response. But a phrase my children are well familiar with is, “Don’t talk about it, be about it.” My children, now four and five, have come to take this as one of our families mottos. We don’t just say were sorry, we show through our actions our remorse. We don’t just say I love you, we show with our actions how much we care. We don’t just tell you we will accomplish something, we get it done and then let you know. I could go on but why bother? You get the point.
My sole objective in life at this point is to always be progressive. To always be moving forward in the direction of betterment. To better myself, to better my family, to better my friends and even the betterment of the strangers around me. Someone recently joked that while others collect rocks or seashells I clicked houses. They used to believe when I purchased a home that meant I would stay. There was a reassurance in it for them. Now they see, that it simply an investment in life. I intend to go where life takes me. I intend to embrace that. And perhaps I’ll continue my collection. Or maybe I’ll diversify. But whatever comes I know that my home is in my faith family and love. And that can be found everywhere. This is not a field trip it’s a calling. I’ll leave you with these words that I have aspire to live into. The words I aspire to embrace even more regularly in the coming months and years…..
As always I want to hear from you and have you engage in this journey with me. Like, follow, comment and share!