There are some people who are naturally open mouthed. They breathe quite happily through their mouth, rather than through their nose. In fact, closing their mouths is a conscious act, and keeping it closed is an act of will. It’s just not natural.
I am an open mouth person. This has it’s disadvantages in that at night time I drool. I wake to a wet patch on the pillow. If I just happen to be leaning against my husband, the wet patch is on his chest rather than on the pillow. I am open mouthed and I am a drool er! I dare say the drooling will get worse as I get older.
When I was younger, I spent some time in an convent – not in preparation for becoming a nun, although I think I would have made a good nun. There was an orphanage attached to the convent – I wasn’t an orphan, but home life was a bit traumatic at the time for my mum, and all us kids spent a week or two, or longer, in this place. We were there twice.
The first time we didn’t seem to be able to put a foot wrong and were heralded as the best examples of well-behaved children that had ever walked through the door.
The second time we had nits. I don’t know whether we brought them with us from home, or whether we caught them on the bus travelling to the convent, or whether some convent kid passed them on to us. All I know is that from being the best examples of well-behaved children on the planet, we became lepers. I don’t think the nuns knew about the shampoos you could use to get rid of nits. Their preferred method was thrusting our heads over a sink and dragging a fine toothed nit comb through the hair. We were faced with the little beasties in the water drowning slowly before our eyes!
The nits seemed to be just the starting point for all sorts of criticisms levelled at us. We couldn’t do anything right. I came under fire because I was an open mouth person. I never thought about how I breathed before. I just breathed through my mouth rather than through my nose. Suddenly my open mouth became this horrendous thing that double decker buses were liable to fall into! It wasn’t something that I deliberately chose to do. It wasn’t an act of defiance or anything, and yet that was how it was portrayed.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it" (Psalm 81:10, NIV).
This is a verse after my heart. Not only am I allowed to be open mouthed, I am encouraged to be really open mouthed.
As much as my physical tendency is towards open-mouthed-ness, my spiritual tendency is probably not that at all. Picture bird’s nests and baby chicks, and the not only have you got really wide open beaks, but those beaks are often glaringly red or yellow, so the parent bird just can’t ignore it. The open beak is usually accompanied by a manic squawking that can’t be ignored either. It speaks of hunger, it speaks of utter dependency, it speaks of appetite and insatiability.
Transfer that to our spiritual lives! Does it transfer at all?