Dinah Maria Mulock
But I loved the sound of the word, "wordsmith". It made me think of all kinds of things we do with words. Then I thought of my kids, whom I consider to be wordsmiths, although unique in their "smithiness". One is a writer of books and blogs, another is a writer and arranger of music, and one writes for a couple of newspapers. On a good day, I like to think they get some of their wordsmith qualities from me.
I don't know if it's a full moon, seasonal change, upcoming birthday, who knows, but I seem to be even more sensitive about words lately. Last night, as I lay awake, in a bit of a snit, I thought about words, and their power. The right words, the wrong words, the lack of words. Do we sometimes forget their potential for power?
Thank goodness for Hallmark because I hate selecting greeting cards! Not the Christmas ones, the ones we purchase for a specific person for a specific reason. Funny ones, no way! I'm afraid I'll offend the receiver. Flowery cards? Will the receiver go into a diabetic comma? Too little, too much? AARRGGHH!
Alas, perhaps I am crediting words with too much power. . . or not. How many funeral reception lines have we stood in not having a clue about what to say to a grieving family member? And then it's our turn and we blurt out "I'm so sorry. I remember the time when..." And the family member's face immediately relaxes. The might of the right words.
But what about the spiteful words that penetrate our hearts and spew from unguarded lips? Who do they hurt more, the listener or the speaker? Thankfully, there are some tolerant, forgiving folks who let words slip off of them like rain cascading from an umbrella. Unfortunately, the words they easily dispose of can linger within us to further fester, either from regret or aggravation.
Frequently, children's faces are mirrors to their emotions. Beaming faces nearly swallowed up by huge smiles from words of kindness, affirmation. Or faces that seem to age before our eyes as harsh words strike their very souls. And just as sad are the faces that reach out with longing for any kind of words, something to cling to that proves they do indeed exist.
A few weeks ago I wrote about love languages, and how understanding them can impact relationships. Well, that was great and I had figured out my sister, Nancy, shows love with gifts. I'm still figuring out my kids' languages, and mine. I love gifts and service and affection and time, but last weekend I realized that more than all of those, I long for verbal affirmation, words. The real epiphany was that, like Tom, that's not how any of our kids' express their love.
If my heart longs for the words and the words don't work, it's my job, not Tom's or the kids' to make it all better. It's my job to remember each one of them loves me and shows me in their own special way, and to appreciate their gifts of love.
What do you do when the words don't work? Are your love languages (words, gifts, service, time, touch) working for you? If not, how do you know, and what do you do next?
14 May my words and thoughts please you.
Lord, you are my Rock—the one who rescues me.