Words are everything to me. I love to read them, devour them, absorb them. I love to write them, sing them, type them. They are how I spill out the content of my head and heart. They are how I express my love to my husband and children.
And at times, words mean nothing to me. Words are inadequate to express what I feel for my husband and children. Words are hypocrisy, justification for bad behavior, excuses…. An empty apology is about the worst violation of words I can think of. An empty I love you runs a close second.
I guess it’s not really words that I love so much as the intent behind them. I love authenticity in words. When a writer is coming from a place of truth, the words brand themselves into my soul. And when the writer is holding back, I sense it. I lose interest. I close the book.
Words. Most of the time we complicate situations with words. We say things we don’t really mean. We talk, talk, talk but rarely do we really listen. We are uncomfortable with silence, as if something might slip in through the cracks if we are still too long. Maybe we fear the voice of God. They say that prayer is talking to God, but meditation is listening. Most of us are not very good listeners.
I remember a scene from years ago as I sat in my car waiting to pick my son Taylor up from the movies. I was observing a group of preteen girls standing outside. They all chattered incessantly over one another like a symphony of sparrows. None could really hear what the other was saying but it didn’t matter. The chatter was just comfort, release, a symbol of their togetherness. The words were unimportant. They were unified, a flock of geese honking incessantly as they flew in wing formation, each letting the other know I am still here.
Words are powerful.
Words can manifest realities.
Words are the vehicle for truth.
Words are the vehicle for malice.
Words are the instrument for inflicting pain
and the key to healing.
Words can change your life.
Words can change your perspective.
Words can imprison you.
Words can free you.
And so as I attempt to write this morning and find myself stuck in self-doubt, I feel like an imposter who happened upon Merlin’s magic powers. Some days I know exactly what to do with these powerful words, other days I fear I could do damage. My hands hover above the keyboard, frozen.
I can almost hear Merlin whispering to me...Words have power. Wield them wisely.
I step out into the world today with trepidation. I will be awake, aware of the words I use. Carefully. Thoughtfully. My powers will only be used for good.