The History of Swearing

- 1

Hot days in Western Washington are a different beast than in Eastern Washington. While the weather is overall much more moderate over this direction, I did not realize when I moved here that there actually are people with no air conditioning. A lot of them. And now I am one of them.

I’ve been told by people who have done this since they were wee tots that it is all about timing the opening and closing of shades and windows. They tell me, with an entirely straight face, that the heat is really quite manageable if you master this. I should have been on my guard when I realized these are the same people who think wind power is a good idea. Ironically, wind power is the only thing that makes Feodora livable when it is in the 90’s outside and thankfully, I am married to a man with a mind for air currents.

In truth, his mind is a fascinating place on a number of levels (not the least of which being his extraordinary habit of seeing all human faces in terms of animal resemblances. It is possibly why he is so bad with names — all he sees is “SQUIRREL!!” Or whatever the animal in question happens to be. Rumor has it he settled on marrying me when he couldn’t pick me out of an animal lineup), and not only for the obvious reasons. He sees shapes like no one I have ever met (seeing as I never actually met Rainman…) and so he has made the setting up of fans across the house an art form, moving the air in ways that only he can mentally map out, but that we all reap the benefits of. There are no less than 6 fans scattered throughout the house, plus two detached air conditioning units, and these are turned on and moved strategically throughout the day.

I tell you all of this so that you can understand how it came to be that in the dark of night, I managed to trod upon a bulky extension cord adapter and all the lessons I learned from it, not the least of which being a vivid refresher course in all the profanity I learned when I had three children in cloth diapers.

It has never made sense to me why so many of the really uncouth words in the English language seem to center around unmentionable bodily functions. That is, until I learned the phrase, “Rinsing the Solids”. Before that dark day, I never contemplated naming and categorizing what was found in a child’s diaper. How could that possibly be my business? But upon one of my age old attempts to learn economy and resourcefulness (see? I am not new at this. Some day I will quit trying and you will know that I either have dementia or have succumbed to Communism, which is basically the same thing), I invested heavily in cloth diapers and went to work. I remember standing over my steaming hot utility sink (thank the Lord I had one), hosing excrement down the drain and suddenly, understanding was achieved. Every truly foul word we have today must have been invented by a young mother washing a pile of cloth diapers. It is the only thing that makes sense. Sailors have nothing on a mother dealing with “solids”. Try harder, man.

All of this hard-earned knowledge flooded back to me as the tender arch of my foot (not the callused sliver, you understand) landed heavily the way that only the arch of a half asleep person can onto the hard plastic of the adapter.

In its defense, it probably had some choice thoughts on the interaction as well. “I mean, sheesh, lady, did you expect a useful three outlet adapter to be streamlined and svelte? With great power comes great girth! I am no rubber band, lady, and while I’m at it, neither are YOU!”

But here is the real reason that this whole adventure smarted enough for me to come here and tell you about it: I have spent a week with my arch on the adapter.

When sin sneaks up on us (which, can we blunt? When we have adopted a spiritually lethargic shuffle, not the girding up of the loins and strengthening feeble knees, but the sort that sees the trials of the everyday and wants to whine and drag the feet… the sort that asks God why rather than picking up and running… that shuffle leaves us wide open to sin. Why was my heart in the dark hallway in the first place rather than walking in the light?), and we receive the shock of having landed on it, and feel the pain, we are faced with a choice: repent and get moving, or stay there and wallow in it. I am ashamed to admit that I have wallowed in discontent this week. I got tripped early on by a disappointment, one that wouldn’t have existed if I was trusting God with my loneliness in the first place, and I struggled to get my foot off the adapter. Perhaps I still am. This week, I allowed weariness with my God-given lot to creep in and throw me in a chokehold (I am mixing metaphors a bit, but you understand that the logical next step after you have refused to leap off of the sin is that it moves for the throat?) and I am now struggling through the hard work of repentance, of picking up my feet, of chasing Light.

This week, God’s providence has been hard. But not the cold hard plastic of sin. Rather, the hardness of glass before He eases it into the kiln. It isn’t beautiful yet. But the heat, the hardness, the feeling that I am melting under all this spark and pressure is not the end of the story. I am not finished yet. This is not a hopeful platitude intended to shrug at the difficulty. I find it a weighty, a sobering truth. He is not finished. This could hurt a whole lot more than it already does before He is finished. But His promises are sure.

I can wait.

P.S. the Superior Nephew, who is singlehandedly responsible for everything fantastic about this website (well… I guess maybe not the writing… but the fantasticness of that is under debate) is having a birthday tomorrow, August 14. Shout outs welcome in the comments. Happy birthday, Hans!! (you are the only one of the two of us who knows how to stick birthday emojis here, so go nuts. It’s your birthday.)

  1. Ellen
    | Reply

    The very happiest of birthday, Hans!! We Readers are eternally (I don’t use that term flippantly) grateful that you have donated your brilliance and on-going effort to this blog. May our Faithful God bless you in abundantly — today and always.

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