Honestly Thinking

Honestly thinking (& rethinking) about God, the universe, and everything in between

Words

The words felt good.

Just a few simple words replying to comments on someone’s post

enough to knock them down a few inches and build my own self worth.

Then sit back and count the number of likes,

never minding who gets hurt

…in my war of words.

Words that were so filling and yet so          empty.

Words.

Funny things they are

just utterances of sounds

and a bunch of .dots and lines and curves

and yet so powerful in everything they do.

They start wars and bring peace.

They destroy relationships and make best friends.

Whisper “I love you” and you build a new bond.

Utter “I do” and you start a new life

write We the People and a whole new nation is born.

Words.

A baby’s first can bring such joy.

And others like

“So proud…”

“We’re promoting you…”

“You changed my life”

“It’s a girl!”

can make your day.

While ones like

“It’s over”

“We’re letting you go”

“You’re worthless”

and

“Sorry to inform you…”

can break your heart.

Words are as powerful as the spark of a forest fire

so the book called the Word says.

With the power of life and death.

As recent tragic news events even tell

words have the leverage to kill

through the simple act of a text or tweet.

But also the privilege to restore

with words like

“I need help”

“Let’s start over”

and

“I forgive.”

Words have the influence to paint instant pictures in your mind:

“tulip”           “horizon”

“lips”            “mountains”

Yet the arrogance to annoy:

“phlegm”      “synergy”

     “moist”

And three simple words

“Let there be…” 

had the command quite literally

to create the universe in which we live

and the beginning of life itself.

Words can get you hired, words can get you fired

they hurt you in spite of what the idiom says.

They can be misplaced or censored or misunderstood

or lead down a rabbit trail of lies

or usher in the exposure of truth.

Words.

We are surrounded by them everywhere

from “good morning” to “good night”

on our signs, on our phones,

on screens everywhere

we can’t get away from them

nor get enough.

And the words we see most lately as I scroll my phone morning, noon and night

are words of frustration, conspiracy and taking sides.

Who’s the liar? Who’s the bigot?

Who’s the smartest? Who’s the idiot?

Who should we give a platform?

And who should we SHUT UP???

Words. Everyone wants the first and the last.

Sometimes it makes me want to scream:

STOP! STOP! STOP!

 

Anyone who reads me may notice recently I’ve been a bit more quiet.

Ironically, I’ve found myself lately with a surprising absence of

…words.

A sort of          writer’s block.

But not the kind where you lack creativity

not the kind where you don’t have words to say

(trust me, I’ve still got plenty)

but the kind where you question their worth.

In the overabundance of words out there

amidst the war of words that is going on

amongst the platitudes and insults

between the showmanship and berating

in the midst of proofs, opinions, investigations and blogs

can my words do any good?

And how do I keep my words from getting caught in the same war?

the war I love and hate

the war that feels so good

..and empty.

“And the Word became flesh

and dwelt among us.”

These words give me life.

the Word himself gives me life.

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

How do I make sure my words bring life and light?

and not empty?

I wrote a political post once that went viral

it was the only one that went viral

it was the only one that God didn’t tell me to write.

Ha. The humor in that.

In it, I joined the war.

I took sides and went on the attack.

I sat back and enjoyed the comments, the shares, the likes.

It made me feel good when people complemented it.

It made me feel powerful when persons opposed it.

I fought back to show off my intellectual prowess and might.

But where was the life in that?

Influence was my excuse. After all I was trying to stop hate.

But soon enough people started sharing my post as an act of hate itself.

Where was the light in that?

Words.

Eventually, I realized that post just wasn’t me

or God.

And I just couldn’t do that type again no matter what the cost

viral or not.

Am I capable? Oh, I’ve got skills.

A very special set of skills.

The kind that can cut and shred my enemies to pieces…

…with words.

And I’ve been tempted that’s for sure.

You should see the ones I’ve written many times in my head.

And when I can stand it no more sometimes I slip up

and sneak my way onto the comment sections of other people’s blogs

and commit my snide remarks to show my superior worth.

Empty words.

It’s not just fear of the value of words that holds me back, though.

I’ve attempted to write several articles lately but God kept telling me

STOP.

And I now realize he’s been teaching me the important art of

Silence

 

What if all my words first started with Silence?

 

What if it all started with listening and waiting?

 

What if before jumping into the fray of war I always waited

 

to hear his voice?

 

the voice of life and light?

 

A voice with a powerful name called

 

    Jesus.

 

A name that gives some people peace

and makes others cringe.

 

Would my words become light and life then?

 

Powerful words. Powerful Word.

 

And what if the whole world practiced Silence?

What if amidst the assaulting and screaming and debating and belittling

we all stopped our words

just for a day

and had a moment of

 

 

Silence

 

 

just to think a little

 

 

just to reflect

 

 

to listen

 

 

What would our words become then?

 

*”Words Everywhere” image courtesy DIN BCN @flickr

4 Comments

  1. Shirley Baldwin

    July 23, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Very well done and gives powerful message. Our minister spoke on the same subject this morning.

  2. Life After Doubt

    July 23, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    What a beautiful post. Listening isn’t easy. And even when accomplished, we are still likely to hear a different meaning as it comes through our individual filters. We have pre-packaged arguments based on our life experience, which are almost impossible to overcome. And every time I do overcome it, and somehow manage the clarity to get my words just right– no one seems to notice.

    • Steve Baldwin

      July 23, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      Thanks for reading and for your comments.

      And for anyone else out there reading this I want you to know that while “Life After Doubt” and I are in 2 different places both “spiritually” and “politically” she is one of the few people out there that chooses not to engage in the “war of words.” She engages well in the art of listening and I believe practices her own form of silence before speaking.

      Worth reading even if just to understand a differing perspective.

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