Sunday, December 23, 2007

Lightning Rod vs. "Venting"

When I shared my "Lightning Rod" post with some friends, someone mentioned the danger of venting. She had a good point. Too often we want to "let off steam" and use that as an excuse to spew hot steamy gossip or other unfavorable words. I hesitated to use the word "vent" in my post because that wasn't quite the word I wanted.

One definition of "vent" is "To release or discharge (steam, for example) through an opening." Venting can be good. In cooking, when you vent, you let out some of the steam to keep a pan from overheating and hot juice or steam from coming out and burning you. I have a piece of microwave Tupperware ("the Tupperwave") that has a loose fitting lid. Before I remove the lid, I turn it 1/4 turn to "vent" the steam. If I forget and just take the lid off, I will have a face full of steam---and possibly even burn myself.

But, even venting can cause one to be burned. If I turn the lid, but stand too close, I can still get burnt. Venting needs to be done with caution and care. Also, some containers can not hold the heat and pressure of a vent. They will melt in the process.

The same is true when venting about life. If I am venting without paying attention to who or what is nearby, someone could get hurt. I need to be careful to watch and see what is around me. I need to choose who I vent to. I may feel better after I let it all out, but have I left my friend feeling burned, or even melted, under the weight of my vent?

I don't want to be like a volcano that vents and spews hot, steamy lava with no concern for who or what is in my path.

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