Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Power of Words

                                                         The Power of Words
  Today I am thinking on limits. We all have them. What is acceptable and what is not. It starts as children. The lines and boundaries that give society it's structure. There are rites and rituals set up surely for our own good. It is never about control, not really. But it becomes a slippery slope when I don't believe in your lifestyle and you don't believe in my faith. I don't approve of this and you do not like that. When did it become this way? When did we each come to believe that whatever we thought was right and anything else was wrong? Why are we so set on our course that we not only will not alter it, we will allow no one else to express an opposing view.  Why have we become so myopic that we can no longer see any other way of thinking to be anything but an attack on our very wellbeing.

  Gone is any attempt at polite discourse. I have watched as friends tear long strips of mental flesh from each other over politics or religion, relationships or parenting. Why? Why are we so intolerant? So angry? I have been there. I have been that narrow minded, foolish person who felt somehow challenged or disrespected if my voice was not the only one heard. I was wrong. I believed mine way was the only way. It was all about walls and angry words. A kind of release of that slow boiling rage that was always with me. I would jump into any discussion and proclaim to be the holder of the only truth. One is never as foolish as when they are declaring someone else wrong.

  Oh, and the heady feeling of sticking a sharp steel blade between the ribs of another's well laid argument. The pure unmitigated joy of harming another with my best weapon, my words. The telling and retelling of battles fought over faux positions. As if this made me more. Somehow better. I was a clanging woeful creature who allowed my beast run free. As if my wit and humor at another's expense was a valid occupation. I had become the rat. I am ashamed, as I sit here going over so many horridly placed words. I remember far too many of them and I live in the hope that those I harmed have forgotten them. Not because I wish redemption, although I do. No, but for there own  piece of mind. My words had no value. They were unworthy of other's thought. As much as I am sorry, and I most assuredly am, I am thankful. Thankful for learning the lesson of weighting one's words carefully. I rarely bring God into my words here. Not because I have no faith, but because I do not wish to force my belief on others. But, I am going to now. The Bible says that God spoke us into existence. If you take nothing further from that book, take this; words have power.  Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote it true when he stated "The pen is mightier than the sword".  And so it is. Be careful. Learn from my mistakes. It is so easy to wound and so hard to heal. Ladling out pain will not lessen your own. 

  It took me a long time to see my own flaws. I was so prickly and harsh. I saw conflict everywhere. I had the need to show that I was strong. To be so tough that no one would or could hurt me. What a terrible place it was. The one that fear and mistrust create. Filled with dark tunnels of misunderstandings and miserable, lonely caves of my own making. I built my own prison and locked myself away. I was scared and alone and I could do nothing to change my fate. Or so I thought. I had turned my life over, willingly too. It was a self fulfilling prophesy of solitary confinement. I pushed people away and was surprised when they stayed away. I would venture out now and again and inevitably get my feelings hurt by some little slight and that would be excuse enough for me to retreat further into myself.

  It occurs to me that many people who are constantly angry are not so far from who I was. There are always reasons. Someone had done something and it had caused us to become something other than we were indented to be. If you choose to be unhappy, you will be. That is the power you hold in your own life. I know it sounds overly simplistic. I have been there. So stuck in my own shadows, counting out all the things that were wrong that I completely missed what was right. I have with a sense of glee looked for what was wrong. As if it was some special gift to find fault in everything around me. I was becoming bitter and entirely too familiar with my inner bitch.

  The more I wrote, the more people reached out to me. The more people reached out the more I listened to other's stories. I began to realize, we all hurt. We will all feel pain and be treated unfairly. It is universal. What we choose to do with that experience makes us who we will ultimately be in this world and how happy we will be. I would much rather be remembered for my kindness than for my ability to harm others. To be thought of as kind, I would have to be kind. It is an art. It takes no great skill to harm another, however it takes the greatest of one's abilities to help someone mend their broken lives. They must do the real work, but we, you and I can give them encouragement. We can aid them in changing their world and there by changing ours. What a wonderful goal. I may not reach all the people I would like. I may be mocked for my Pollyanna ways. And that is fine. It bothers me not one bit. I would rather walk alone in the sun then travel in a pack filled with darkness.

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