“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