Wordsmith Anu Garg, in A Word a Day: “Why is it that to ‘doctor’ a document is to falsify it, but to ‘vet’ it is to check it for its accuracy?” The range and use of language is rich with possibility and precise in communication. The words we choose say a great deal about us.
For several years now I have been death on the poor little word, “try.” Granted there are several definitions before the 5th one that I am after, however, “to make an attempt at” is the culprit. I am asked most years what I have given up for Lent. The truth is nothing in particular, but this year I gave up using the word, “try.” Actually I have proclaimed my office a “try-free” zone.
If asked to do something I can answer, “I will try” which means I am not going to do that but I don’t want to tell you that right out. So to try is not to try at all. To try is leave a loophole, while saying it is my intention to get this done says a lot more about my resolve than “trying” ever will.
I can’t imagine that Jesus, if he were interviewed by a Jerusalem Post reporter on Palm Sunday about his date with a cross on Friday, when asked if he really intended to go through with this would have said, “I’m going to try to make it.” No he set his face to Jerusalem to face his passion. Jesus didn’t “try” to do anything, he either did it or not but he left himself no loopholes.
When Jesus said to his disciples (including us) that if we wanted follow him we should deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him. He didn’t say, “It would be nice if you would try to follow me.” Nor will he accept, “Lord, we will try to show up but a cross seems a bit extreme!” No we either follow or we do not. There is no try.
In a culture infected with trying at least in our faith let our yes be yes and our no be no for our souls sake and the sake of the Kingdom.
© John W. Sewell