Monday, June 04, 2007


A brilliant etymological discovery: the root word of question is 'quest.'

Ok, so that's rather tongue in cheek. In fact, I just noticed this today, and only when it was pointed out by someone else. I do feel that this discovery significantly contributes to its meaning and renders the word question less repulsive to me. I like questions, of course, but the word "question" always sounded so common and boring. Think of it as an aspect of a quest, a search for answers, a mission to accomplish - and my mind awakens with all sorts of imaginative implications.

I am laughing at myself for not realizing the root word earlier. While we're on the subjects (of questions and of laughing at myself), do you think it is acceptable to laugh at others when you laugh at yourself all the time? I laugh at my quirks, my mistakes, my ignorance, my clumsiness, my tendency to think of proud-sounding things to say (though I don't mean them, I can sound like quite the heretic!). So if that is my mode of reaction, and laughing is such a pleasant activity, is it still mean to laugh at other people's quirks or ignorance?

And who defines mean? Are hurt feelings conditioned to be hurt by certain things?

Jane Bennett tells Lizzie during one of their late night sisterly discussions, "Yes, Lizzie, but not everyone is the same." I, like Elizabeth, frequently forget that not everyone is like me. And even when I do remember, I sense a wall between me and significantly different people preventing me from understanding them and their reactions. Then I want to know if I am the way I am because God created me this way, or because of choices I made. I'm sure that in different cases the answer alternates. Basically I wonder whether there is a chance of each of us moving to middle ground in our communication and reaction, or if we should accept existing the way we are.

If we should be moving toward middle ground, then, I have another question. How? Can't anyone show me what to change, and how? I need a mediator. And a mentor. And isn't this what they should be teaching me at church? It is one thing to teach me that I ought to be kind; I know that, agree, and try to be so. But I don't know what is the universally agreed upon definition of kind, and I don't know how to be pro-actively kind (except by giving gifts, and my gift budget is currently bankrupt).

I don't think I'm very creative. I can see, for example, how to replicate something, and how to organize it. But I don't look at one thing and see something different than what "everyone" sees. (This, I believe, is why I was so bad at geometry; if I ever had to construct a line to prove something, I had no idea that I should do that, or what line to construct...) I don't have a goal and dream up ways to reach it. When faced with questions like the above, I can ask more questions, but I need help from either creative or experienced people in finding the answers.

If I know answers, or have advice, I'm always eager to offer them - perhaps too eager. But I ask all these questions and the reactions I get are silence or a weary look like you see on the faces of mothers of two year olds. Imagine: a toddler tugs at mommy incessantly asking why, and eventually, though her child is only eager for help, and trusting her to supply the sum of all wisdom, she gets tired and convinces him to stop asking. The questions don't go away when they are unasked. Nor do they go away when unanswered.

You my readers, if in reading this ramble about communication and application and questions, understand what I'm asking and can think of any answers to suggest, I'm inviting you to help out. I'm asking for help.

"What is the point in me being almost twenty-two if there is still so much for me to learn?"
- Emma Woodhouse

To God be all glory.

Postscript: Right after writing the above I went over to YLCF where Natalie shared a similar frustration over communication:
I learn more about life, faith, and our Father's love from Rick than any study, sermon, or trip taken. I learn not because our relationship is blissful (though many times it is) but because it is honest.The challenge of understanding emotions, thoughts, and desires is compounded by the task of communicating them to my man in love--my man who tries so hard to understand me even when I am afraid to understand myself. Sometimes I do not want to pull my true feelings into the light. They are not what they should be. (emphasis mine)


C.A.R. said...

I have never before thought about "quest" being a part of "question". That is kind of cool. On the topic of laughing at someone else since you laugh at yourself a lot---I'd say in general it's a dangerous correlation. When you laugh at yourself, you know exactly what you are laughing at. Another person would not necessarily know what you found funny in/with them. You don't know how they would take your laughter-though you mean nothing unkind it could be taken as such. I think good friends can laugh at each other's foibles well enough. Comedians make a living knowing things we all identify with and help us laugh at ourselves.
Who defines what is mean? I think it is defined by the One who knows our heart.The Holy Spirit will reveal both our kindness and our meanness and still be our very best Friend.
As far as still having a lot to learn at 22, I think having a lot to learn is one of the joys of life. However I also know what it is to feel impatient that I don't know all I NEED to know. My impatience with myself has lessened as I trust my all-knowing God more. I like the song Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus--especially "O for grace to trust Him more"
Hope you find the mentoring relationship you seem to be desiring. And that it will be a wonderful blessing to you.

Lisa of Longbourn said...

I think I believe in a plurality of mentors - all the "older women" should be teaching all the "younger women," though there can be a few special relationships. Likewise for the men.

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn