My friend inquired, as we were catching up, “How are you, Sam?”
“I am well,” I responded, and continued chatting. Then, I stopped myself.
“Girl, I need to tell you something. This week I am doing better, but I am still processing through something that happened last week.”
A couple of weeks ago, I had an experience that I allowed to carry over into last week, days 266-272, in my year of Quitting the Bible.
Although, I was in a better place, I wanted to let my friend know what happened. I explained the situation to my friend. It was one of these matters that hit at the heart of my principles.
I felt disgusted by what I perceived as people spitting in the face of humanity and hypocritically telling the world it was raining. Their behavior was beyond personal to me.
Then, shaking my head as if all shadows of doubt had dissipated, I said it:
“They acted like a bunch of a*%holes. Yes. They acted like a—holes.”
As I said it, beams of light shining Divine clarity dawned on me. I felt as if God looked down, affirming, “She said what she said.”
Speaking of “said,” my friend did not say one word. She did not attempt to censor me, either. You see, my friend and I do not practice cussing, cursing, swearing or using profanity.
Never in any of our conversations with each other had we used obscenities. And when I say never, I mean, never, ever, ever, ever, ever.
It was a first for us.
Don’t Say “Crap”
Like much in our lives, my lack of cussing has a history.
When I was growing up, the only person in my household who used profanity was my father. “Crap” and “butt” were like obscenities to my northern turned southern mama.
I suppose a little wisdom and knowledge from my formative guidance took residence in my schema. As a result, over the years, I have amassed a fluid reserve of pseudo-profanity.
My expletives showcase choice words like “biscuit” or phrases like “Shut the front door!” Before I met my wonderful husband, once, when I was on a dinner date with a guy, I mentioned that I was a “bad butt.”
My date, with confusion and amusement, interrupted, “What? What did you say?”
I repeated, smiling with confidence, “I’m a bad butt.”
Imaginary question marks popped up around his head. He followed up, “What is that?”
I explained, “Instead of saying that I am a bad a-word, I am a bad butt.”
He burst into laughter.
Don’t cry for me, Argentina. Any chance of relationship was doomed from the start.
In other race and gender news, I have experienced White women accusing me of cursing at them in order to get off the hook for their own problematic behaviors.
These ridiculous she-said, she-said situations happened in predominantly White contexts. In one instance, the woman, no longer able to hide her bigotry, cursed at me. Then, she lied, accusing me of swearing at her.
Maybe, one day, I shall share more about these instances. I had considered taking up the popular linguistic craft of swearing to help more White women like them live in honesty.
I did not.
Various individuals have told me, “You might as well cuss. You are doing the same thing, anyway.”
As for my case, I was not thinking of expletives and verbalizing substitutes. If I thought biscuit, I said “biscuit.” If I thought, “Oh, snickerdoodle,” I would say the exact statement.
By aligning my words with my thoughts, I was not some Christian trying pretend like I was not using profanity or thinking of it to earn heavenly brownie points or avoid the oven below that eternally bakes said brownies.
A Magical, Quiet Evening of A&$holes
On this magical, quiet evening, as I spoke with my loving friend, I had the word “a**hole” in my mind. I had been trying to think of some other way to identify the disturbing behavior. Each person’s repulsive conduct was akin to a hemorrhoidal partially-wiped orifice at the end of an enflamed rectum.I could have said the aforementioned, but “a—hole” sufficed. The more I fought back the word, it seemed the more I stayed stuck in the mire of anguish, reaching for words like branches I could cling to pull myself out to safety.
However, when the words evacuated my spirit, without care of what anyone thought, I began to feel a Divine freedom. On the next morning, I woke up feeling awesome to the awesome power (that’s a real thing).
The weight of the situation was gone. I decided to test myself to check to see if I harbored any ill feelings.
This time when I brought the individuals to mind, I felt peace. The individuals in question were no longer a**holes anymore. They were humans acting out from a set of beliefs, like most of us in different parts of our lives.
I turned my attention to my beliefs.
I began to reflect on what happened. Initially, I concluded that after all of the praying, what I really needed was to cuss.
With more introspection, I arrived at this truth: I needed to be honest with myself about the totality of my feelings.
How can I be honest with God or anyone, if I try to edit my feelings when facing myself? The way to freedom is to be naked and unashamed.
It starts with self.
God is mysterious like that-using the profane to communicate something sacred.
A—hole moments can create opportunities for beauty.
Closing: Seasoning Our Words
If you feel the urge to rebuke me and simultaneously show off your knowledge of scripture by declaring something along the lines of, “The Bible says, ‘Let your words be seasoned with grace,’” I suggest that you hold your mule like you are Shirley Caesar.
I used much seasoning in my speech. For starters, my righteous indignation sent me to peak levels of saltiness.
Furthermore, on this magical, quiet evening, “a*%hole” was one of the most benevolent words I could have used to describe these individuals’ actions. Their deportment begged for harsher language.
Because of the love of God in my heart, Sweet Baby Jesus of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt Nazareth inspired me to preach the truth in season. “A—hole,” a word of grace, was the sermon for the day.
If other people swear, it is their prerogative. Some people have an artistic expression of profanity that is like a gift from above.
Truth be told, some of your churches need to add the six-fold ministry gift of “cusser.”
Indeed, the cusser can handle the back-biting, gossiping, stealing, arrogant, messy, competitive, and ignorant-acting church folks (not to be confused with Christians), who keep drama going in your local ministry.
Typically, it is considered poor decorum (and even hell-bound worthy) for a pastor, prophet, teacher, evangelist, or apostle to cuss at parishioners in order to help their footing on the straight and narrow path. The cusser can set these church folks straight scraight.
Kidding aside, regardless of how one uses profanity, much of what is considered acceptable or appropriate boils down to discerning context and audience.
Also, I separate using cuss words and cussing out people into different kinds of affairs. The former is the everyday use of profanity across formal and informal settings. The latter is where, currently, I have cause for pause.
Cussing out people is neither my thing nor thang. Using profanity in an angry rant at someone shifts from a matter of swearing in conversation to demonstrating disrespect.
No matter your perspective on profanity, can you agree that instead of judging people about their language use, we can spend our energy focusing on something of greater importance in our lives? Whenever people cuss, I do not believe God’s anger becomes kindled like some of us.
Imagine how many issues concern God more than Deacon Earl cussing in his complaint that Sister Betty’s casserole tasted like [bleep].
God works in mysterious ways, not the a—hole kind.
Let us take note.
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