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.”
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.