I wasn’t going to write a post tonight.
To be honest, words haven’t meant a whole lot to me lately.
I began the new year feeling surprisingly, and disappointingly, defeated. Typically, a new year is the start of something new: new hopes, dreams, and goals, right? Unfortunately, all I have seemed to be able to focus on is what I haven’t done, what I haven’t become, and what I can’t seem to overcome, if that makes any sense.
As I thought about the words to write, a theme to discuss, even some hope or inspiration to pass on, I realized that words, in many cases, have lost their meaning. In most cases, the definitions of words haven’t changed, but the words themselves have lost their feeling.
Think about it – we toss words around like they are pieces of paper in the wind. Words of apology and love are the most overused ones in my opinion. We’re sorry for this; we’re sorry for that. We love this thing and we love that person. I know that there is still sincerity behind those words for many people and in many situations, but sometimes they are just words, empty of their true meaning and lacking their intended value.
We fling out words in anger. Words are hurled and are used to slam someone down or to put them in their place. Words can cut like a knife and slap like a woman scorned. Words can destroy.
Words can be twisted and turned like the windiest of roads and can be misused and abused. They can lie with the silkiest of tongues and they can tell you what they think you want to hear. They can whisper their truths in your ear all the while they are searching for a good place to stick a knife in your back.
Words can sound like you are in a Charlie Brown episode, in the same classroom as Charlie and Lucy, listening to the teacher drone on, “Wah-wah-wah-wah. Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah.”
I was once in love with words. I loved choosing words, using them in different ways to explain, to demonstrate, and to show. I was thrilled when I discovered a new word, or a new way to use an old word, and I loved the way words stuck in my mind and I would mull them over.
I would literally get lost in words – in writing them and in reading them. I believed in words. I felt we had a true connection. I don’t think I’ve fallen out of love with words, but maybe we just aren’t seeing eye-to-eye right now.
Remember the day when someone’s word was their bond? A man’s word was his honour. His word meant he would carry out what he said he would do.
And don’t forget the lack of words, the words that are missing, the absence of which can hurt as deeply as the words wrongly said.
I never thought that my disappointment with words would run so deep. Perhaps, that is part of the reasoning behind my new year disheartenment. I’ve had an enlightenment about words and I am worried that things will never be the same for us again.
I haven’t forgotten, though, that there are two sides to every story.
Words can give us comfort and strength in the times we need it most. Words can heal and restore our faith and hope. Words can mend fences and reconstruct bridges. Words can help us to grow and lead us to learn from our mistakes. Words can give meaning when all meaning seems lost and can be truthful and honest when the world seems full of lies.
I’m not yet so jaded or cynical as to believe that words still can’t still have their endearing qualities or be wonderfully positive, I think I just need some time to figure them out again.
I guess I have another year to do just that.