Words (Part 2)

Yesterday I wrote about the damage that words can cause and the care we have to take every time we open our mouths or start typing at our keyboards. I was going to say put pen to paper but does anyone even do that anymore? Pens? Pencils? Paper anyone?

Today I’m going to flip the metaphorical coin and look at the power of words to heal and restore. Words are a double edged sword. They can destroy but, used properly, they can smash through barriers of hurt, misunderstanding and disappointment. Some of the most powerful words in the world are the most simple.

I’m sorry.

I forgive you.

I love you.

Let me help you.

You don’t have to be Oscar Wilde or Charles Dickens to perfect those lines. But when spoken at the right time and in the right place they can change that little part of the world that you have an influence over. They can move mountains when spoken truthfully and earnestly. They are potent and unstoppable when delivered within the correct context.

Why don’t we use them more often then? Four simple phrases but when was the last time you spoke aloud all four within a twenty hour period? Don’t feel too bad because I’m struggling here as well. We are all too quick to spew out negativity and hate yet when it comes to positivity and love we clam up awkwardly.

All the great leaders and orators favoured simplicity and directness over confusion and evasiveness. Why use 1000 words when you can use 10? We skirt issues. We hmmmm and haaaaaa. We never seem to say what we mean. We worry about how our utterances might be misconstrued. To wear your heart on your sleeve and speak plainly is frowned upon. Rather duck and dive. Or better still, say nothing.

Silence is golden. Silence has its place but how many times have we wasted opportunities to say what has festered in our hearts for years. I know for I’ve been there. My father died young, aged 64, from prostate cancer. He was a strong and healthy man. Yet in just over a year he was gone. There were so many things I wanted to say to him but I placed countless walls between us.

I loved my father but I struggled to tell him that. I struggled to forgive him for mistakes in his life no matter how many times over he tried to make amends. Until it was too late. I couldn’t walk a mile in his shoes. When he was gone I stumbled and staggered along without him for many thousand miles. I became blinded by the darkness. I used words to deceive and deny the person he would have wanted me to be.

Some say I am a wordsmith. But for many years after his death my words were nothing more than the proud, empty boasts of a vain hypocrite. My words, written and spoken, took me and my loved ones to the brink. Words broke me. They choked me and dragged me down, down, down. My father would have been ashamed of me.

I was an accomplished liar. I lied to everyone but most of all I lied to myself. My words were like hand grenades. They detonated and fragmented causing untold damage. I stopped believing in myself. I despised myself so much and just couldn’t stop digging. My keyboard was the spade I was digging my own grave with. Shovelful and shovelful of lies and broken promises showering my coffin. Burying me alive.

So many clever words. Yet the simple phrases, the ones that mattered lay dormant on my lips. Today I feel as if I have to make up for lost time. I need to write every day and maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to repair the damage and right the wrongs. Be a better husband, father and person. Make my father proud of me. Make it matter. Make a difference. Make amends.

The world was created by more simple words.

Let there be….

Words created the world. Before the world there was The Word. Without words we are nothing. Let there be words. Words of faith, hope and grace. Words of love. For The Word is love and love is The Word.

Do you also struggle to say the right words?

Who can you help, forgive or apologise to today?

When did you last say ‘I love you’?

44 thoughts on “Words (Part 2)

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  1. What a beautiful reminder! “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” So often I overflow negativity instead of love and healing. 😦 my words have been my gift and my deepest failing. They define me in the eyes of others and often change the words they use around me. I want them to love and healing in my ‘overflow’, I want them to see Jesus!

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  2. I cannot imagine you ever being as you describe your former self. You are so opposite to that description in every way here on this blog! Excellent post! Like you, I have been a wordsmith for most of my professional life, and the weightiness and responsibility of wielding words has always caused me great anxiety. For this reason, I’m extremely grateful for the words “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you” because those words actually make it possible for me to write; I would fear publishing anything if I could not apologize or be forgiven for any hurt or misunderstandings caused by my words. And if one writes for long enough, such missteps are certainly inevitable. :-}

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  3. Yes, I do struggle to say the right words. I’ve messed up a lot. I’m really trying hard to think carefully before I speak, and I’m asking for God’s wisdom in order to do that. I need him to remind me.

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  4. I’ve never been good at spoken word. Everything I feel and want to say comes out effortlessly on paper. Yes, I still use pen and paper….often. I struggle to tell people I love them, outside of my children. Spoken words have to be calculated so precisely. The wrong tone or inflection can lead to a misunderstanding. I am learning to let the words that flow so easlily from a pen slide effortlessly from my lips. It is a great challenge, because my words have been known to wreak irrevocable damage especially in the heat of the moment. When writing, it allows you to calm down and think things through more clearly. Awesome post! We’re all still students, yet we have a responsibility to teach all we’ve learned. A heavy burden at times but I’m up for the challenge. Thanks for the reminder!

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  5. I try to tell my boys at least once every day how much I love them. It’s something I wished I heard more often growing up. I don’t always remember, but it’s a daily goal of mine.

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  6. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

    You (and i) may not be able to make up for all the lost ground our negatives words have caused, but we have the gift of today to spread the One Word that matters: Jesus!

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  7. Two great posts on the art of words… Writing is a strange breed of art… Words can only have meaning if you let them… An image can have an impact whether you want it too or not, but words and what they mean… Are all up to you…

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  8. this was a really thought provoking post. I typically say i love you when i leave the house in the morning. The dog appreciates it. Just kidding. I say it to my fiance.

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  9. I like that you posted these. I have used the name “deathybytypography” in a lot of my social media and writing posts.
    I believe words contain the power to break or heal a person, depending on the wielder .
    Thank you for sharing!

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  10. I constantly find it difficult to say the right words. Sometimes i feel i am not saying the right words even on my blog. I have an idea what i want to write, sometimes it comes out others it feels like i am not making any sense and that i am repeating myself. I last said I Love You to my daughter when i left her Sunday. I am reluctant to say I Love You to others for simple fact i am scared of rejection or looking silly………….

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  11. Nothing has taught me this lesson more than when a coworker of mine committed suicide. We weren’t extremely close, but I’ve known his sister for close to ten years. The suddenness of his death brought that survivor’s guilt – “What if I would’ve said something?” “Did he know how awesome I thought he was?” “Why didn’t I ever tell him I loved working with him?” Earlier this fall one of my best friends was in a car accident. Those thoughts came rushing back. I know I let my selfishness get in the way, but I try so hard to live knowing whatever I say to someone might be the last words they hear from me.

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  12. Good read, open and honest. We all have those regrets, “I wish I would have” a great reminder of the power of our words and to also seize the moments God’s provides for us to use them.

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