And I’ve begun two or three posts in my head over the past few days. They’ve used words, of course, but they haven’t been about words; they’ve been about the striped clouds, the scarlet vines in the trees, the way a dear friend laughed with me at the incomprehensibility of God’s workings. This is part of the wonder of words: their versatility.

We use them to tell the truth and to conceal the truth, to express emotion and to evoke emotion, to describe reality and to describe fantasy, to persuade, to dissuade, to blame, to praise, to flatter, to insult, and, ah yes, to bless and to curse.

The world in which “words can never hurt me” is not the world we inhabit. Though, on some level or other, it is possible to say that words are “only words” — not causing physical damage — yet “only words” can carry massive weight for good or for ill. Revolutions begin with “only words;” our Declaration of Independence is “only words.” We conduct so much of the business of life in words: wedding vows, oaths of office, criminal trials. We frame friendships atop foundations of tentative words, and sometimes undermine those same foundations with more words. One story, or one song, can define a generation, though stories and songs are “only words.”

We never know, really, where our words will go, or how they will be heard. Some of my more hasty blog posts have been better received than those in which I invested hours, and every now and then I’m caught off guard by someone who took my words to heart, some way or other.

And I wonder at it.



©2013 by Stacy Nott




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