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Inside the Lines

My English class has this reoccurring assignment; its purpose is to force us to learn new words. In all honesty, I couldn’t tell you any of the words I’ve used before this past week. I was asking friends for some difficult/strange words I could use; mostly because I was too lazy to actually go look for them myself. One friend gave some great words I’d never heard of before and will probably never use. The other friend, however, threw out words I’ve known since I was small – tyranny, justice, love. At first I laughed because I thought he was being funny, no way those are difficult words. Than it slapped me across the face like a trout (that’s for you Kellie!) – I use those words a lot, okay, maybe not tyranny, but I throw them around and I don’t really know how to define them. Even when I think I have a plausible definition, it seems to change in the blink of an eye; no decent definition is that pliable. Or is it?

I’m afraid that our current culture avoids defining everything, especially the important things. We throw words around as if we have mastered them the same way we mastered how to color inside the lines – trying really really hard and messing up a lot, until we color one picture correctly, and suddenly, we’re able to say we can color inside the lines. That’s all it takes, just one drawing – which is lucky for people like me who at this stage of life still struggle keeping it
What is love?
inside the lines. But, what is often left unrealized, words can’t be treated the same as those

pictures. They are not equal – getting a definition right once doesn’t cut it.

So, that leaves some pretty big questions. What is love? What is justice? Are they intertwined? If so, how? There is one thing that I know for certain, and that is that the answers to these questions are powerful, and they matter – far more than society and I have given them credit for.


Anonymous said…
I enjoy reading what you write - you have a way with words. I definitely enjoyed your analogy of coloring in the lines and it's true that we cannot give one complete, concrete definition to love. Look at someone you love and explain why you love them. Then, look at someone else and do the same thing. Chances are, you are going to come up with separate answers but they both have one core definition - you love them despite who they are. You love them for their flaws, imperfections, despite sins and transgressions. Your love for them overpowers anything they could do to hurt you or others. That is love - true, unconditional love. This is what God gives us each and every day, hour, minute and second. God loves us unconditionally despite our human nature to go against His teachings.

- Jessi

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