I’m not just a blogger; I’m a writer. Which means I also keep a journal. I traditionally use my journal to document and evaluate my day. It helps me process things. I remember the things that I’m grateful for and I reflect on the things I could have handled better. I offer a prayer of gratitude and ask God to work in my heart to heal the flaws in my character.
Sometimes my journaling leads to a deeper revelation, though. My last blog entry was on a Tuesday and it took me an exceptionally long time to compose. Not only did it take me days to sit down and write, but it also took me hours once I finally mustered up the determination to do so. While writing in my journal Tuesday night (after completing my blog entry “restless” earlier in the afternoon), I began to understand the source of my so-called writer’s block.
“I’ve been wanting to write a blog entry but I haven’t known where to start. I mean I have a whole list of topics. But none of them have called to me. I get to caught up in opinions. And not in the way you might think.
I’m not ashamed of my opinions, but I’m frustrated with what opinions have come to mean. Opinions aren’t meant to be absolute. An opinion is a starting place. At least that’s what an opinion is supposed to be. But society has turned opinion into an absolute truth. There’s no room for dialogue. No conversation. No chance to change your mind without being a coward. Without being accused of being wrong. ‘Hey, I never said I was right, so how can I be wrong?’ What’s the point of even having an opinion anymore?
I have opinions, but I frequently don’t broadcast them to the world or even to my close friends. I’d rather listen. I feel like once I state my opinion everything becomes an argument. I want to learn. I want to observe and reflect. I want the opportunity to weave your points into my own perception. To broaden my experience and view the issue in a new way. To change without being considered a coward. And once I’ve stated my opinion, that opportunity is lost.
The culture of attacking cynicism has nearly paralyzed me at times (in my writing, that is). People comment with their “opinion” but seek only an argument. It’s not that I fear confrontation. And obviously I love a good discussion in which I learn and grow. I am fascinated by all sides of an issue. I see the strengths and weaknesses, and my psyche molds with each new fact and point of view.
But it is discouraging when my efforts are not matched. When my opinion doesn’t resemble yours and is therefore wrong. I usually don’t respond to such comments. And it makes me sad because I know that I’m missing out on a fresh understanding–one that is totally unique to me–a compilation of every experience and personality I’ve encountered. But I can tell the difference between a conversational comment and one that is attacking. It’s exhausting.
I’m not ashamed of my opinion, but I am embarrassed by my ignorance. And I think that’s a good thing. It lets me listen instead of talk. It keeps me open. I just can’t let it silence me.”
I have read over this journal entry every night since writing it. I’ve thought about turning it into a blog entry, but I’ve hesitated. I didn’t want people not to comment on entries because they thought I don’t want to hear their opinions. But please, read my journal entry again and try to tell me that I don’t want to hear your opinion. I love hearing your opinions. I just don’t want you to be surprised if I fail to argue or respond in the way you have come to expect. There are plenty of people who would love to engage in an argument if that’s what you’re looking for. And I encourage you to do so; there’s nothing wrong with a good argument from time to time. But as for me, I’m looking to listen.