Sunday, July 27, 2008


I've always had a fascination with words. I love their complexity and the subtle nuance each word owns. I love the way that each word stands alone, and I don't believe there are any real synonyms.

Words alone mean absolutely nothing, they stand as fragmented representatives of ourselves. Our meanings and understandings of them give them life and flesh.

Outside of the nonverbal, our communication is necessarily driven by words. They are the catalyst and the conduit.

They are in a sense, all we have.

Over time, we accumulate a vast army of words. We stack them neatly, squared away in our mental storehouses, some of them practiced and polished, some hiding in our recesses, dusty and untried.

Though we own a multitude, I would argue that we hear and interpret more words than we actually use. I think that most of the time we use the same construction crew of familiar words. The reliable ones, the ones we know will get to the job in the morning without wondering if they've stayed out too late drinking.

But our words are so much more important than day-laboring workhorses.

I believe our words are wildly important. Each exists as a tiny microcosm, literally, a brief sonic combination of utterances packaged together carefully and according to rules set forth by culture groups hundreds or thousands of years ago.

The words we speak are old and they are perfect, with the weak ones sorted out over time. Our words have started wars, shaped treaties, compelled assassinations, healed wounds, expressed love, and saved souls. Each word is bursting with opportunity, alive in its potential.

Our words could not be more important.

If we speak the same words as our fathers, and theirs before them, why then, in considering the weightiness with which we're charged, are we so audacious that we give our words a free-range leash, allowing them to represent themselves, removing from them our full endorsement.

When should my words ever mean anything less than exactly what I want? Why do I let my words choose me, rather than me choosing them?

Because, we speak from habit rather than from heart. We reduce our power and undermine our God-given authority to command them like readied soldiers to confront chaos.

I move to mean every word I ever say. That if there might be some cosmic stenographer recording my life, I may stand responsible and accounted for each syllable, calling them my own.

Let us find comfort not in fleeting compliments or arrogance in multisyllabic masterpieces, but in knowing that in each day we've meant every word we said.

Choose well.

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