31 Days (26) CONFRONT
When I was in 6th Form at school, only four of us took A level French and we developed a unique sense of humour within the small class. An old schoolteacher had set up a subscription to the satirical Punch magazine and we loved its ‘Let’s Parler Franglais!’ column, a bowdlerised version of the two languages that made little sense in either.
One afternoon, when asked by our tutor as we arrived, ‘Comment allez-vous?’, instead of replying the conventional ‘Ca va’ or ‘Bien merci’, my friend Paul adopted a fatigued expression and responded in an exaggerated English accent, ‘Je suis un peu sous le temps’. Consternation filled our teacher’s face at this unexpected answer as she had encouraged us to research and use modern French idioms. Word for word it meant ‘I am a bit under the weather’, a phrase for which there is no meaning in French.
Another time, we delighted in teasing the school choir members by trying to persuade them that the Latin word ‘factum’ was the root of the French ‘facteur’ and therefore the anthem they were practising, Christus Factum Est, should be translated as ‘Jesus is a postman’.
I still love playing with words like this.
So when I saw today’s prompt word, ‘confront, I was very tempted to define is as ‘to scam someone near a beach’ (a con being a scam or confidence trick and front meaning the part of a coastal town facing the sea).
But, of course, the word really means to face up to and deal with a difficulty. Its origins are in the Latin literally meaning ‘heads together’. It must be where we get our phrase of ‘head to head’ meaning a contest or the saying ‘to face a problem head on’.
And that’s so true of problems or difficulties: we have to face them, look at them closely and directly, if we want to solve or overcome them. Avoidance and denial are not solutions; they are only delaying tactics.
Fears and anxieties are the issues I try to avoid confronting but I know that this behaviour only makes them grow while I turn my back to them. I need suitable weapons in order to go head to head with these, weapons like trust in God (Proverbs 3.5-6), thanksgiving to Him (Philippians 4.6-7), and courage (Joshua 1.9). And it will take practise and training for me to learn to wield these weapons effectively. Time to face up to it.
(*’How are you?’ ‘I’m OK’ ‘I’m well, thank you’)