Holding On To Words

(Photo found on Facebook….Would Love to Give Credit to Artist!!)

It’s true.  Words mean things.  If they didn’t, we wouldn’t even have the concept of “politically correct” in our lexicon.   Think about it.   The very mention or thought of these words can conjure up feelings, offenses, reaction to, memories, or opinions related to words such as these:

Racist, homophobic, abortion, liberal, conservative, sexist, God, atheist, extremist, offensive, radical, religious fanatic

      Some words are so offensive or charged they have to have their own personal substitution, a pronoun for the profane if you will such as:

The N Word, The B Word, The F Bomb, and my favorite the symbolic substitute of @#^$%!

      Words or “tags” like this in the blogosphere get plenty of “hits” and comments ranging from differing opinion to full blown assaults on the character and opinions of other commenters.  It amuses me to see how “highly charged” people become because of words that were written or spoken.

We are living in a time where news events and social media happenings from the personal to the global are hurling at us faster than a meteor shower on steroids!   Internet, scrolling electronic billboards, radio, television, I-Pads, Pods, and Phones, Email, snail mail, and the endless barrage of TVs in bars, airports, and malls blast words at us from every direction.  No wonder at the end of each day we are exhausted—we’ve nearly been WORDED to death. 

We hear, see, and think about words whether we asked to be bothered or not.    The problem with words is they generate thought responses on our part.  And thus more word generation in our own head.  It becomes harder and harder to silence the voices in our head, short of taking a sabbatical from civilization, which in urban areas is gaining popularity with good reason:

  • A bike ride thru Central Park at lunch
  • Listening to classical music instead of your standard Playlist
  • An hour of hot yoga as opposed to a lunch date with coworkers
  • Throwing the Frisbee to the dog for 30 minutes instead of returning that urgent phone call

We live in a noisy era.  Musicians know that too much sound just breeds distortion.  Our heads full of words are loaded with our own distortions.  Watch any cable news show with three or four “talking heads” trying to out argue one another and then take a “fast break” to heavy-on-the-technology and special effects commercials.  I know I’m ready to turn the TV off after 20 minutes on any given channel.

The future is here.  We live in a WORD WORLD!   Very few occupations or sensations exist devoid of words.  It’s easy to see why we wish to flee from all the words and noise.

Even our recreation time involves words:  Facebooking, texting, listening to music, reading and looking up information online, or perhaps a quick call to a friend.

Words are tools.  They generate revenue for business, stories for media, and information for all of us to integrate, disseminate, ruminate over, or ignore.  Words are weapons; they fan the flames of unrest, until destruction or death break out.   Words heat up and threaten to erupt like Mount Vesuvius.   Words are magnets and depending which end you use either attracts or repel people towards you or your ideas.  Words are lifesavers.  Words like:

Care, need, desire, cherish, behold, admire, inspire, and the most coveted of all:  LOVE

         We all like to be recipients of above words whether it is a spoken word, a love letter, or gesture testifying its truth.

In the volatile world of today, words may even risk extinction if forces in power deem some words are ever too “highly-charged” to say.  I pray that NEVER happens.  For when we lose the ability to say words, no matter the cost, we value “sensitivity over liberty” as I heard a wise talk show host utter today.    Yes, we have a moral responsibility, but not a legal responsibility to choose our words carefully.  We also must have courage and not fragility if words that offend us cross our path.     We must “speak the truth in love” as my pastor often says and also keep in mind that “discretion is the better part of valor” as Shakespeare said.

Especially don’t let a day go by where words that “could of, would of, should of” been said weren’t.   John Greenleaf Whittier wrote, “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: It might have been!”  To this day I think, no truer truth exists regarding the words we choose to say—or not.

As for me, I will always romance the words.  Words of promise whispered, words written so magnificently only tears were left, or composed and sung so beautifully it seemed heaven temporarily descended, or tiny truths tumbled from the mouths of my children that my heart just melted, are all engraved in my heart and memory.

Words mean things.  They should never be censored.  But wisdom comes in knowing which ones say it best and grace comes in knowing which ones help or heal.   So choose your words carefully!


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