In Shakespeare’s play “Much Ado About Nothing,” Don Pedro says to Hero, “Speak low if you speak love,” and that’s the thought God also placed in my heart this morning. Don Pedro is bidding Hero to lower his voice, and it’s sound advice to all who speak of love. Love is serious and lowering the voice is an indication of the importance of the subject at hand. Valentine’s Day is coming up, and I have to laugh as I think of the way love is distorted and twisted on the day. It reminds me of Santa Claus and Christmas. The intentions are great, but love gets lost in both translations:)
God also reminded me of a favorite poet and poem this morning. I used to have my students memorize “A Word is Dead” by Emily Dickinson to help them remember the importance of spoken words.
A Word is Dead by Emily Dickinson
A word is dead when it is said, some say.
I say it just begins to live that day.
Pastor John reminded me this week that the message from 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 is a lot about the way I speak. I hadn’t thought of those passages in that way before, but his message and God’s lesson this morning helped me see the importance of the way I speak about love. I breathe life into each word I speak, and those words take on the life I give to them. So, I should heed the words of Don Pedro in “Much Ado About Nothing” and speak softly and seriously when I speak love. My heart is deeply touched with a tender “I love you” whispered softly in my ear. There is nothing more precious than hearing that Christ’s precious love is for me, and it is best to speak softly when I speak of His love to others and be mindful that I will give life to those words of love.
Valentine’s Day becomes much like Christmas Day as we lose the meaning of both occasions in what becomes a scream fest of who got the most and best flowers, candy, diamonds, presents, etc. The irony is that both St. Valentine and St. Nicholas were humble men with extraordinary meekness who would literally shudder to think of how their names are used today. This Valentine’s Day, try speaking low when you speak love. True love needs nothing more, and try the same strategy in your witness of Christ’s love to the world. Turning the volume down and using a fewer words are what make my loving and praying like His.
I love Shakespeare because His words tickle me. I have always loved the quote, “The lady doth protest too much, me thinks.” I thought of those words this week at a time I needed to be ticked. Powerful truth lives in the words of Queen Gertrude in Hamlet. Protest in this context isn’t what you might think. Wikipedia describes it well, “The phrase’s actual meaning implies the increasing likelihood of suppressed feelings for the contrary of that which is being argued.”
Too much protesting is a sign that something is amiss, and the more I protest, the more likely it is that I’m guilty of what Shakespeare is describing. Unfortunately, I can relate! I protested too much and listened to far too much protesting this week. God used the line from Hamlet to teach lessons about placating and holding on. Shakespeare always gives me food for thought and chewing on his words reminds me to catch myself when I find myself protesting too much. My fear of imbalance and failing when it came to love kept my heart from being balanced. My need to lead and be who others needed for me to be kept me from being who I am.
As I begin my sixties, I plan to seek peace and be myself. Like Mylah, I’m new at navigating without holding on. We both are squealing with delight and optimistic about our new found freedom. I may fall and fail or get pushed down as little Mylah did yesterday when Lillyann got too rough with her, but I plan to shake off the dust and get right back up again just as she did.
The fifties have been a decade of finding, and I’ve found a lot. I began the decade leaving a terrible marriage, and I begin the new decade by celebrating my son’s marriage, a full circle of sorts. I see love and life in a new light and feel better about relationships than ever in my life. True love thrives on truth, and that is the best way to describe the lessons learned. Honest communion set my heart free, and I’ve finally found the courage to be myself and speak my mind honestly without worrying about what others may think. My problems with love stem from my fear of being who I am and not speaking the truth with conviction. A middle child tends to keep peace at any cost. That’s not true of this middle child any more; that’s not the kind of peace I’m pursuing:)
Truth stops the protesting that Queen Gertrude noted and enables me to find my voice and speak that truth with love. Knowing the truth about myself brings sweet stillness and peace and makes silence much simpler. I’m looking forward to seeing how this new freedom will affect my heart and my life as I let go of the baggage I’ve been carrying for six decades. I know it will help me live, as my dear friend puts it, a life worth living forever and love in a way worth loving forever too:)
Happy sixtieth birthday to me! It is a happy one indeed, and I honestly believe from the very center of my heart that the sixties are going to be the best decade yet:)