I don’t know when to shut up. I always seem to have something to say, some thought or idea or hope or plan or prayer. As a child I was called Big Mouth. As an adult I was told that I was selfish and self-absorbed. I suppose I should be embarrassed, but I am one of my favorite topics. In writing every day, I have learned I have things to say and that one way or another my thoughts are going to expressed.
This is one more reason I write – to express my thoughts, all my thoughts. Some of my thoughts aren’t very nice. It turns out that I can be hateful, petty, judgmental, or afraid. Some of my thoughts are ugly, mean, or cruel. All my life I’ve kept them (mostly) hidden. Sometimes they come out sideways, like an unintentional slight towards someone I judged as lacking in some way. I act friendly, but the judgment is still there. Then it comes out unexpectedly and unintentionally and I have to apologize and face my demons.
There’s an easier way. I write. In a journal. Every morning. This is a way to get those thoughts out without getting them out there in the world. My less noble thoughts are not my predominant thoughts, nor are my true beliefs. They are just thoughts I have, that need not only expression, but also guidance and correction.
When I was a child I believed that a good friend of mine would die before me because he was a year older than me. This thought seems silly now, but it worried me when I was 9 years old. I was afraid of sharing it with anyone because I was sure the topic of death would frighten and upset everyone and that people would start crying. When I finally did share the thought, with my friend’s parents no less, everyone just smiled kindly at me and corrected my misunderstanding.
Sometimes my thoughts, even as an adult, are childish, fearful, angry, or ugly, but once they’re expressed, they fly away like a caged bird. Then I realize that I’m not my thoughts. I have my thoughts, but they don’t have to have me. I believe the majority of rage, fear, violence, and hatred is the result of improperly expressed, or repressed, thoughts. Beneath that are the real thoughts. Beneath the fear of my friend’s death was love.
Humanistic thinking says that people are basically good given the right conditions. I don’t believe that completely. If we were, the incident in the Garden of Eden would have never happened. But I do believe people have good in them and that most people have the potential (if not the will) to be great. This takes effort and self-discipline. So does writing every day. So does anything worth doing. So does Purpose.