I had a piano lesson this morning. Normally they go for an hour, and lately they've been going pretty well because I actually practice. This morning, it started with my teacher asking me to play a C# minor scale and me blithely launching into E-flat major, and ended 35 minutes later with her sending me away and instructing me, not unkindly, to "go drink some more coffee."
I think that's pretty representative of how this week has gone.
But anyway, as I was walking back (without the familiar solace of my iPod, because it's dying on me for real this time and I really want it to live through spring break) I was thinking about this essay I wrote a few weeks ago in which I used repeatedly the phrase "pour into [someone's] life". My most excellent proofreader friend did the digital version of emphatically circling that phrase and writing little red question marks all over, and I realized that while it's a term we use relatively often in the Christian circles I'm in, it's really not a standard phrase at all. (For the record, it totally should be. I dislike the fact that I don't see it happen very often outside of said circles.) It really means just what it sounds like - pouring time, energy, love, encouragement, occasional discipline, and just yourself into someone's life solely for the purpose of seeing them grow as a person (or as a Christian, as the case may be). It's friendship to the next level. And I love being a part of it.
But beyond that one phrase, there are a lot of other words/phrases we as Christians use so often that they take on slightly new meaning, some that we've completely made up, and some that are just used so often it's not even clear to us anymore exactly what we mean by them. This is known popularly as "Christianese," and it can make discussions with Christians about Christianity sound really strange, I'm sure. Why is "God's grace" so much better than normal grace? Which one is "the prayer"? What the heck is the "KGP" and why does it sound so sketchy?? (I actually don't know why that particular acronym was necessary.) And how exactly does one "share their faith"? I know there are a lot more, and I've had conversations with other Christians about it. It distresses me a little to think that when I talk about my faith, half the things I say probably have way less meaning to the people around me than intended. It makes me feel like I'm in a cult or something (which, contrary to some beliefs, I am NOT). And I really want my faith to be more open than that.
So I think for Lent this year, rather than giving something up (like coffee, which I considered for all of 1.5 seconds before realizing there was NO way), I'm going to work really hard to avoid using terms that I can't immediately and clearly define to myself or anyone else. And you can hold me to that.