Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Don't Mumble

This morning I was following a pickup with a decal in the rear window that I couldn't read.  It was obviously some breed of dog and for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what it was saying.  All because of a lousy, unreadable type font.

Now why the words, 'Don't Mumble' came to me as I attempted to decipher that font, I don't know, but it makes sense.  If you have something important to say ... don't mumble!

Yesterday I was at the post office.  I wrote about this in my Bible blog, but I'll share it again.  I had gotten the stamps I needed and was standing in the main lobby putting them on envelopes to mail.  As I stood there, a man walked past me and mumbled something while looking right at me.  It took me several moments to discern his words, during which time my mind was working as quickly as possible to figure out what he had just said.  I was distracted because my attention was elsewhere and none of the words that he spoke to me were in context with where we were at.

He said, "Has anyone told you that Jesus loves you today?"  As soon as my brain caught up to his mumbled sentence, I was able to begin processing on a response.  Yes, all of that took just a second or too, but he had something important to say and he mumbled his way through it, allowing me time to wonder whether I needed to pay attention to him or not.

When Carol and I were growing up, we did a lot of singing - in church, in school, for friends and family - a lot of singing.  As a child, Dad had hearing issues.  Those were fixed by a near miraculous surgery in the late 60s that allowed him a chance to hear again, but his hearing still wasn't perfect.  He couldn't bear to have us mumbling around him and when we were singing, it was important to him that he and everyone else be able to understand the words coming out of our mouths.  For years there wasn't a single time that we were practicing when we didn't hear him say to one or the other of us, "Enunciate.  Make sure you sing those words clearly."  Wow, did we learn to speak and sing clearly.  Just in self-defense, we had to!

As we grew up, if Dad had any problem understanding the words we were singing, we heard it again from him that we needed to enunciate.  It was rote learning that stuck with both of us.  Over and over and over we would practice until Dad could understand every word we sung.

What he was teaching us was that if we had something important to say (sing), we needed to ensure that people were able to understand the message.

I get a lot of teasing because of my blatant ... umm ... honesty, when asked about any given situation.  It does no one any good for me to duck the question or lie.  I won't mumble when a clear response is needed.  Jesus said "Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No' ... (Mt. 5:37).  Clarity always.

This life lesson came from my dad and not mom this time.  But, it's one I've been thankful for.  Don't mumble.  Enunciate.  Speak (sing) clearly and make sure that people understand the importance of the message you are delivering.

1 comment:

Holly said...

Great Post! I have meditating on letting my yes be yes and my no be no!