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Words and Their Effect or is that Affect?

I was speaking with someone the other day and they said they were disgruntled. I hadn't heard that word in a long time. Of course, being me, I starting thinking about the word and wondered why we never heard the word gruntled which would be the opposite of dis-gruntled. If being unsatisfied or unhappy is the meaning of disgruntled, then being satisfied and happy should be okay for gruntled! My spell-checker doesn't like that word and zealously underlines it in red to show me the error of my ways.

Words are tools, aren't they? They describe what we see, how we feel, provide insights even to the "way of things". I am a lover of words. For the most part, anyway. Words have the marvelous capacity for spreading goodness and kindness. But they are also effective when wielded with sarcasm and to inflict hurt. When Jesus describes what will happen to him using simple words they all understood, the disciples just don't seem to get it. And he doesn't talk about it in vague, opaque terms either. He says it quite plainly. But the disciples hear the words they want to hear. As do we. Sometime when someone is hurting or sad and they tell us it's because of something we've done or said, we'd rather think we heard them being nit-picky or petty. In our defense, we justify ourselves and our actions to anyone who will listen. It seems sometimes that we are unable to really listen anymore. To the words someone speaks to us. To the tools they are using to describe their feelings, their thoughts, THEIR reality, even if it isn't ours. Jesus asks us to listen with our hearts, not just our ears. And that is hard to do. Because sometimes we hear things we don't want to hear. And our hearts are no longer guarded and we can become bruised and battered by those words. But being a follower of the Christ was never supposed to be about being easy or not being vulnerable. And Jesus, in telling the disciples and us, never said it would be. He told us quite plainly as well that following in the way of God's love was no bed of roses--and there are plenty of thorns.

But it can be good too. It can be peaceful and hopeful and if we're really trying to follow Jesus it can be a gruntled way to be. So join me if you will, being a bunch of gruntled Christians instead of the disgruntled ones. Let's start a trend!

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