Thursday, December 01, 2011

My 40 Days in the Wilderness

Everyone's heard the 1 Corinthians 13 passage during wedding services, but do you think any couple actually tries to literally follow its advice?

For those of you who forget the passage:

1 Corinthians 13

1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Following this passage to the letter is what I'm going to try to do for the next 40 days, not just with my husband, but with everyone. I was looking for a "New Testament 10 Commandments", and in my mind, this is as close as you get.

Right now I'm thinking the hardest parts to follow will be always being truthful, trusting, and hopeful. While I'm generally a truthful person, everyone tells white lies now and again, so that one is obviously going to be difficult. I don't consider myself naive, so always being trusting will also be a stretch. (Let's hope no Nigerian scammers get past my spam filter, because I have a feeling that rule would dictate I'd have to send them money. I'll have to give that further thought.) As far as being permanently hopeful, while I think this will be difficult (I am a worrier by nature), it should be nice to have to force myself to think positively. I'm hoping that while this experiment will be difficult, it'll also be uplifting in the end as well.

The reason I'm undertaking this experiment is to get in the head of the protagonist in the next book I'm writing. It's a Young Adult/Middle Grade book (I haven't decided which yet) about a girl that does this very same experiment. I purposefully chose to do this over the holidays because I figured (1) the holidays will add a higher layer of difficulty with traveling and being around family and in-laws, and (2) what better time to try to more closely follow the Bible than during the Christmas season.

I'll keep you updated on my progress. So far this morning all I've done is check my email and write an article. It was entitled "The Party of Stupid" so I don't know how "kind" I was. I maintain that I was following the advice to be honest, and that's honestly how I felt. (Seriously, though, I'm exempting my examiner articles because good writing is all about honesty.)

In general, though, it's going to be quite difficult to reconcile being kind with being honest. I think that's going to result in me just keeping my mouth shut most of the time. Especially if Max says something ridiculous or my in-laws attempt to make gravy. ;)