Thursday, March 06, 2014

The Might of Words

 “An English Major?  Hope you’re ready to ask ‘Do you want fries with that?’.” 

I’m not a violent person, but at this point in the conversation, I felt ripping his face off would be an appropriate and reasonable response.  No court would convict me.  Crime of passion, right?

It wasn’t the first time my major of choice had been belittled, after all, I had not only chosen Creative Writing as my focus but also decided that attending an Agricultural and Mechanical university was just the place to do it.  Year after year Engineers of all types snickered at my passion.  The kind ones held up a smile supported by decency and asked, with the greatest effort at politeness, what my future career plans were; the less tactful laughed outright, suggested I might have nothing more to look forward to than serving up flash frozen fries.

Words.  Words powerful enough to cut like knives. 

I wanted my words to be powerful, too, to speak to individuals, to the masses, concepts, ideas that would bring about change, would rend hearts, would comfort and convict…I wanted to change the world with my voice as a mouthpiece for the Lord, for truth…

But words made me small; shrunk me down until I was tiny, a child looking up at adults, at betters.  My words meant nothing, I meant nothing; my path was that of a fool.  Even the armor of indignation and condescension based on their “inability to communicate intellectualism” stood little chance against the arrows of their words…

It only proved how powerful words can be, how they can mend or break, build or destroy.  The old adage regarding sticks and stones proves to be nothing more than the same armor with which is clothed myself, and poor armor at that. 

“…the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.  Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.  It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”  James 3:5-6

I was listening, as I often do, to wrong voices.  I was listening to wrong words. 

“If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”   Galatians 3:29

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:14

Words have power.  Listen to the right ones.

True, This! —
Beneath the rule of men entirely great
The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold
The arch-enchanters wand! — itself is nothing! —
But taking sorcery from the master-hand
To paralyse the Cæsars, and to strike
The loud earth breathless! — Take away the sword —
States can be saved without it! – Edward Bulwer-Lytton


grrfeisty said...

you chose the perfect major for your talent! rip his face off! haha :)

blestbutstrest said...

Ah, how mean to demean the arts--and English majors, especially! Words should always speak life. We need creative people, just like we need mathematical people and engineering people and people who serve with a smile. The point of a liberal arts education is that it equips us to do anything--not just what we majored in ;). As Toby Mac says, our words need to 'speak life.'

Courtney Lott said...

Yes! That song has actually been playing in my head throughout this post. I agree! So glad God has blessed us all with different talents.

Emily - Light and Loveliness said...

I liked this line especially:
"It only proved how powerful words can be, how they can mend or break, build or destroy."

dayebydaye said...

I LOVE how you ended this- "Words have power. Listen to the right ones." YES!!!!
I am grateful you have been able to keep pursuing your dreams. I have had to silence the critics as well at times to listen to the still small voice.
In case you don't hear it often enough, your words are beautiful!

50Peach said...

It struck me most, reading how much words can make us small and revert to child vs adult roles. It is SO true and one of the most frightening things about them. But it was lovely to read YOUR words. Thank you.

Katie Murchison Ross said...

Ha! As a fellow English major, I relate! Thanks for sharing!

Kirsten Oliphant said...

Love the way you started this and think you demonstrated power with your words in this post! No frozen fries. Unless they are for you while you are up late writing. (and gluten free...)