The Power of Words


Words etch patterns in our hearts.  Spoken, shared, sent out: power we forget we're wielding. "Would you like a hug?" My words surprise me sometimes, the ones I have to take in an extra gulp of air just to get out. A weeping stranger on the street. The right words, for once. Perfect. A gem in a pounding sea of words, babbling up on our shores. Overheard, read, conversed, reinforcing or changing the patterns shaping our hearts.

We say so much with so little. The tone echoing a tired chant and the mom-words repeating themselves yet again. The jolt of recognition at the toddler's shriek of frustration. My words. My tone. We aren't what we say, thank goodness, but the gaping void often found between words and tone, or better yet words and heart ... it does confuse our listeners.

Another memory rises, a stinky hunched-and-stuck-to-her-seat subway rider. She visibly winces at a gentle word, stunning the grooves of derision etched in her blue-eyed soul. Evidence of the damage of careless comments, giving the speakers tenuous comfort at her expense. Poison words leaving an ugly mark.

Every word leaves it's mark: planting, watering, illuminating, feeding, blooming, crushing, sustaining.  Food. Words are food for the soul. Eat the honey. Share the milk. We are what we eat. Lean times expose the soul, and many walk the streets with words blaring on their sleeves: hopeless, scared, loved, secure, determined, distraught. We show the words we take to heart in our actions, spoken aloud or not.

The Little Engine That Could had the right idea. Speak your intentions, putting roots deep in your heart for the dreams you want to grow. Feed yourself well. Speak only the truth, in love, to your friends and family, or even stinky strangers. Think before you speak, and speak before you think ... both can be beautiful when your heart is full. Words are powerful, silence is golden, and weaving them together an art.