Words.... there are so many things I love about words. I love the way they sound. I love the cadence of certain words, the satisfaction of a good alliteration. I love the way the meaning or sound of a word can change depending on the words that surround it. I love the heady rush of being able to spout words off faster than thought, a well turned phrase, a sentence that stops you in your tracks.
Awhile back, a friend of mine sent me a list of the 100 most beautiful words in the English language. Many of them have a musical cadence, a bouncing from one syllable to another. Some evoke certain emotions, sights, thoughts, smells. The truly beautiful thing? Not all the words have beautiful meanings.
The most beautiful thing about words: they are one of the most powerful forces begat to us humans.
The book of Proverbs, chapter 18, says, "The power of life and death is in the tongue". James chapter 3 says our tongues steer us the way a rudder steers a ship.
Such a small, simple thing. A rudder. A tongue. But with the right pressure, the right power, able to control entire vessels.
Don't believe in the Bible? That's okay. There are plenty of sayings, metaphors, colloquialisms that acknowledge the power of words. Call it positive or negative reinforcement. Call it good or bad vibes. There's the well known saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."
Whoever came up with that saying was deeply cloaked in denial.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will break my heart.
In my head swirl the words of many, many people who have hurt me, betrayed me, encouraged me, valued me. They're all swimming around in there. The family friend who said my chin resembled Inspector Gadget's. A person in my life that I was desperate to be loved by, to be valued and seen, who told me I was a thorn in their side- a reference to the Apostle Paul's painful trial that could not be overcome, no matter what. The first person who told me I was pretty. My youth pastor, who called me faithful. A friend who always tells me they admire the way I throw an outfit together. The first person who asked me to sing. The first person who told me I could write. A person who flippantly asked me- in their mind, as a joke- what I was doing with my life. Telling me I was slipping.
They're all in there, taking turns using up space in my mind, fighting that battle between life and death. Repeating, replaying. Over and over and over.
Your words are mighty.
Your words can be merciful.
Your words can be malicious.
Your words hold poison.
Your words hold power.
Your words can wound.
Your words can heal.
Your words can rip apart or bind up.
Be careful, friends. Be the good words that someone remembers . Be careful what worlds you create or tear down with your words.
Be wise. Be kind. Be beautiful.