Words are things, I’m convinced

you must be careful about the words you use

or the words you allow to be used in your house.

In the old testament we are told in Genesis that “in the beginning was the Word”

and the Word was God

and the Word was with God

That’s in Genesis

Words are things

You must be careful

careful about calling people out of their names

using racial pejoratives and sexual pejoratives and all that ignorance

don’t do that

someday we’ll be able to measure the power of words.

I think they are things

I think they get on the walls,  they get in your wall paper, they get in your rugs, in your upholstery and your clothes

and finally into you.”

Maya Angelou

I have been taught the sacredness of words in many ways for many years.  Yet, for some reason, that quote, part of a program I watched last night on the new Oprah network, stayed with me all day.

How do I use words? How do others use words around me?  Do I have the courage to use the necessary words in a difficult situation?  Can I stand in my truth with my words?  Are my words respectful?  Do I tolerate disrespectful words towards me, towards others?

I have used words to whisper lovingly in my children’s ears,

to teach young children and college students.

used them in inquiry when curiosity compelled me and to answer when asked, not always in full wisdom.

I have used words to help the dying and the loved ones they left behind

to ease the suffering of those who come to me for counsel

to pray, to sing, to praise,

and to write.

Fortunately I have learned words in various languages and so my well of words is deep. But so is my arsenal;

for throughout this long life, I have used words to wound albeit not always on purpose but sometimes yes.

I have used them to lie when gripped by an addiction stronger than any love I ever felt,

used them to excuse inexcusable behavior, used them to whine and to manipulate and to complain,

and to curse carelessly, to express my rage and outrage without a thought as to what

havoc they’d create, as if this voice had been given me by some dark power.

Always, eventually, and most times sooner than not, I called those words back with a heartfelt “I’m sorry”, but I suspect those two words couldn’t catch the others in time to keep them from invading the rugs and the curtains, and the clothes, and worst of all the hearts of those for whom they were intended.

I too am affected by the words of others.

My soul is full when my grandchildren say  “I love you, Grandma”

or when my husband says “I have your back. Go chase your dreams.”

or when my sons and daughters share their tenderness.

My heart feels glad when my childhood friends reach out to me across the miles.  Even their voices with no words are like a life song.  Powerful.  Healing.  They make me strong.

Sometimes I am wordless, when someone consumed by envy

vows to destroy me, for I know nothing I can say can stop the mad.

Or when too many words, spoken by a tyrant,

hurl me out of my homeland.  and cause me intolerable pain.

No small thing, words.

So much more than noise.

And such a gift and a responsibility for those of us who write…..

Color me reflective.





  1. Words….a very powerful truth in your writing! One would hope that as we get older we would all get “wiser” and chose words that promote love, peace and justice, but this is an issue in which the “ego” of certain men and women gets in the way…and the words turn into lies and inflict pain to others.

    There’s an old proverb that still holds true in my book: “If you don’t have anything good to say, silence in the best answer”.

    I love one of the Rules for Life used by the buddhists to achieve Enlightment: “Don’t Compare Yourself to Anyone”….we all have to go through our own experience, our own hurdles must be walked without complaint or comparison, with good nature and acceptance, everything that happens to us is a lesson in the molding of the unique spiritual journey each one of us carries to a higher or a lesser degree. I believe this philosophy would promote a kinder world that would have many more nicer words in it.


  2. Adrianne I have liked very much this post. There is a Persian proverb I have always liked it says in Spanish “la palabra que tienes dentro de ti es tu esclava, la que se te escapa es tu dueña” (the word that it is inside you is your slave, the word that you utter your master). I think words can be wonderful but they also can harm. And as you say we have a responsibility about what we say, and how we say it.


    1. I had never heard that proverb. I really like when truth is stated with such simplicity. Very powerful words, words to remember. They are a gift to me and I am grateful.
      As I continue to grow it is my hope that this proverb will stay present in my mind. Thank you for visiting my blog. It means a lot to me that you’re my friend.


  3. And surrounded by silence words gain importance and become meaningful.

    Silent, my soul, silent,
    Until you hears things speak
    and tell their wisdom

    Then you may speak and shout.

    But until then,
    Silent, my soul, silent.


    1. Yes they do, Elena. I come from a family of too many words and not enough silence-hardly any silence would be a better description. Of course, with nine people in the house back then it was bound to be noisy.
      Beautiful poetry. Yours?
      I love it when you visit always bringing important words to us.


      1. Yes, I wrote “Silent, my soul, silent” years ago. I have lost or misplaced the original, so I just typed what I remembered. It came to mind when I read your “Words.” There was nothing much that I could add, except that words and silence go hand in hand.


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