Of words and keys

18 06 2009

The word on writers is that we write because we love words.  That may be true for some, but not for me.  I write because I love what words can lead us to.  I see words as keys.  Keys that unlock the doors leading to life’s mysteries.  Mysteries that aren’t meant to be solved, but experienced.  To me,  words are but the means to an infinite end.

I’ve been thinking a lot about words this past week as President Obama, Democratic politicians and gay leaders have been knocked back on their heels by a community that is starting to grow tired of a words-only movement.  Weary of finding that words that promise action only unlock doors revealing brick walls.

But, I’m an artist, not an activist.  So, this blog isn’t about politics.

Rather, it’s an invitation to look at the key chain of words you carry with you.

If you’re married, when’s the last time you unlocked the door of your marriage?  To go behind the door of the word and into the room of your marriage? What’s there?  Two chairs facing a table of responsibilities? Or, a wall-less room where, as Joe Campbell says, the two selves who enter into marriage have re united into the whole self?

What does the key of your faith lead to?  Does it open the door to a “chosen” room that is bigger, better, brighter than anyone else’s?  Or have you realized that while the doors may be marked “Christian”, “Jew”, “Buddha” , “Shaman” et al, they all open to the exact same room?

And on and on the keys go.  They key for your career, your hobby, your politics, and on and on.

What do you DO with all those keys?

Are they your keys or did you just pick up the ones society says you should have?

Do you even know which doors they open?  Or are you one of those folks who just like to carry around a big key ring because you hope it will tell a story of how very important you are?  Hoping that just the fact you carry the words “married”, “religious”, “executive” with you…that those words alone will be enough to get you through life.

And, even if you know the doors they open, when’s the last time you went in?  In other words, do words open doors for you….or close them?

Finally, when’s the last time you borrowed someone else’s keys? What would happen if President Obama, a black man who can’t hide who he is, traded keys with a closeted gay man who not only CAN hide, but DOES hide every day?  What would each find in the experience that is the other’s room?

You can tell a lot about a life, a people, a country by unlocking the doors behind the words we use.  Perhaps we should do it more often.

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