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Peace In, Not Out

My dad had a brown leisure suit. He didn’t really leisure in it. My mom had pedal pushers. She pushed nary a pedal in them. I have a laptop and never have I placed it on my lap.

Words mean so much. They’re powerful. We have to be “careful” with them. We don’t want to “hurt” feelings with them. We don’t want to “offend” with them. We don’t want to “waste” them. They’re that precious.

In fact, they are so powerful that entire countries rely on them for their message. At this point, journalists have died by them, if not ruined their careers by them. Words don’t play.

Throughout my life I’ve been in conflict with the power of words. Use good words. Use your inside voice, I’ve told my children really without much thought. Here we are now in a place where words make or break a situation.

I remember when words were just words. We struggled to not take them seriously. I have wanted all my life to give power to words and to take it away practically in the same breath. I didn’t mean it. What did you say? Say again?

I’ve even lauded over others the fact that I can string words along in a row neatly sometimes. I can usually spell okay. I’m acutely aware that other people can’t. Hmm, this means I’m “better” than them because I’ve mastered the art of putting a simple sentence together. Does this mean I can add more stuff to my resume?

How powerful can they be? Can they describe how I feel right now? Can they tell you what it looks like out my window?

We’ve read them for centuries and been amazed by their meaning and their depth. There’s Albert Camus, Carson McCullers, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Faulkner. And let’s not forget St. Augustine and St. Teresa of Avila and the desert fathers and oh, for God’s sake, I’m only naming my personal favorites. Words can change everything.

Whether we read them or we speak them, they are the most powerful thing we have. More powerful than guns; and make no mistake, words are a powerful weapon.

The words we use to comfort, to love, make a difference that we can’t even measure. Who knows how powerful I love you is? I feel pretty confident saying I love you means everything to everyone. No matter who’s saying it, that’s powerful. Life changing.

What if we used our words for good? What if we made a choice to only use words that lift up and don’t tear down? What kind of a difference would that small everyday choice make? And not just that choice but that practice.

If something negative starts to come out of your mouth and you nip it in the bud and change it to something positive
. . . that’ll make a difference to the person you’re speaking to. Might make their day. Might change their life.


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