The Cliffs of Moher jut up 700 feet above the Altantic Ocean in County Clare, Republic of Ireland. Their name means The Cliffs of Ruin (“The Cliffs of Insanity” for you Prince’s Bride buffs). Even when getting out of the bus near to it, without seeing the drop, one feels like the ground might be about to run out. Ruined Moher Tower, the salty air, the nervous trail – it ushers a quiet awe, where speaking should be for wind and gulls.
I inched out on my belly there and hung my head over the edge. I watched birds flying high up in the air, and they seemed only specks below from my position. Atlantic puffin congregating in the rocks were a pulsing blur. The waves looked like foamy ripples yet were huge machinery cutting at creation.
I was there with other writers, and writers are very often so full of words that they can’t contain them. We would try to speak to each other there, and I remember that because of the wind, we shouted and could only hear if we turned our faces a certain direction, and even then, we were mostly reading lips.
We assume to have listeners when our pale voices dissolve over dramatic rock.
I am not afraid of heights.
I am not afraid, and I should be.
I love to feel high. Ask me to write. Ask me my opinion. Or don’t. I’ll teach you. I’ll share my story. Empty sound space? Blank Document? I will always try to fill it. It makes me feel high. My high place is not from the Tower of Babel on Dickson Street. I build mine with words – and words – and words. I don’t mean to. But much of the day, I am just rattling, picking up another large stone, building my tower.
It dawned on me yesterday that over-talking is another ginormous, waving, red flag for pride. It’s my thinking this scene needs my breath. Pride in James chapter one is associated with talk. “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger (v 19).” I’ve got it all backwards, especially with my kids. Verse 21 says, “in humility receive the word implanted.” Listen to God!
Then, James tells us to be effectual doers. I always knew that “pure and undefiled religion [is] to visit the orphans and widows in their distress (v 27),” but I had never made the connection with talking. I’m liable to go see them and talk their poor heads off. v 26 basically tells us to shut our yappers because it just makes our religion worthless. Stop talking and start doing, people – I mean, Amber!
Besides, high places are good when your Daddy walks you up to them and holds your hand so you don’t fall. You know all the while that you wouldn’t be there unless He had brought you.
Here’s your undramatic close. I’ve got to put down these rocks.