When Words Fail

Don’t forget our daily reflection for this, the 4th week of Easter.

I didn’t want to write today. I’m not sure if I have the words.

There are some weeks when ideas abound. Words buzz around your head like butterflies. You can catch them as they hang in the air and release them if they’re not right in order to grab some others. Some weeks words are abundant.

But this has not been one of those weeks.

Words have been elusive for the last several days. How do you tell a church where you’ve been for nearly 8 years that you’re leaving? Especially when it’s the church where you grew up? What words do you use to tell teenagers and parents and coworkers and shepherds and volunteers that you’ve got to move on?

Which exact words will give comfort or explanation or inspiration? Instead of plucking words as they hang copiously around my brain, I have been searching in the dark to find elusive words that will communicate delicate feelings.

WordsAnd my words have been failing me.

Because the secret is that all my words will fall short. These words – these short collection of selected letters and sounds – serve me well when I’m ordering a cheeseburger or making a grocery list. But they can’t do nearly enough to communicate what’s in the deep places of my heart. Those feelings are much better expressed by tears and hugs and even by pained silence. So even in my best efforts, my words have fallen short.

And you know what, I’m kinda ok with it.

These people I’m leaving already know the things I’m trying to express. They know that I love them. They know that I care about them and their future. They understand how exciting and painful and joyful and scary it is to leave this place for another ministry. And how do they know?

Because I have done my best to love them with all that I am. Because I have tried to show them Jesus. Because I have taken care of their children and given of my time and taught Bible lessons and led mission trips and confessed sins and planned retreats and led worship and attempted to bring them into the presence of God with every ounce of my being.

And somehow in the middle of all the laughter and tears, the successes and screw-ups, the celebrations and the sorrows, they have seen me. They have heard my heart without uttering a word.

So I’m ok if my words fail me today.

I was encouraged by Trevor’s post yesterday, particularly this —

We are given the same call. We are to follow in the paths of Jesus like a sheep follows a shepherd. We should be able to look at people in all situations and say:

Do you want to know what God looks like? Look at what I do. Because I am following Jesus. I do what he does.

So this is where I sit today – with few words and a full heart. And maybe that’s the way it should be. Because our actions don’t just speak louder than our words, but they speak so much better as well.

May we hear the shepherds voice and follow him today. May we look like Jesus. And may our love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and goodness be evident even if we have don’t say a word. Because we are following Jesus.

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