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Words to Live By

July 1, 2011

“In the beginning was the word…”~John 1:1, King James Bible

The act of using symbols that represent sounds to create words conveying thoughts and expressing emotions will never cease to amaze me. Here I sit in NJ tapping lettered keys on my laptop that someone in another place will read and perhaps react to. I think and choose each word with care because words are powerful and once said, they can never be recalled. Words can connect or divide, heal or crush, inspire love and gratitude, or incite rage and hatred. What is communicated depends upon my choice of words and their delivery, but also upon the history of the person reading or hearing them. Words are a hook on a line cast into a pool of emotion catching onto past experiences which influence how one translates what is said.

Underwood Typewriter

Today, we have “improved” methods of communicating — cell phones, texting, e-mails, instant messages, twitter, blogs — faster yes, but not necessarily better. I witness people expressing every thought with total disregard for context, presentation and consequences. Now that everyone has a forum, it seems we are bombarded with everything on everyone’s mind. Are you someone who speaks his mind, or are you someone who says the first thing that comes to mind? Does anyone have an unexpressed thought today? Do your words matter or is it just time to empty the trash? Do we really need an accounting of a person’s every moment?

Speed, it seems, is the important thing, not what we have to say. We simply can’t express ourselves fast enough, and an entirely new ‘shorthand’ has been created to help pick up the pace. I’ve even witnessed stunted communication style slipping into the corporate world, accompanied by a severely limited vocabulary. Unfortunately, there seems to be no similar limit to foul language, which has lost its intended shock value through constant repetition.
I am frequently appalled at the harsh responses, negative comments, foolishness, and cruel and disrespectful things said online. There is a sense of security in anonymity that seems to bring out the worst in some, but I believe the best way to judge a man’s character is to see how he behaves when he thinks no one is watching.


The ability to communicate is too often taken for granted and abused, not understood as the great gift it is. In imitation of our Creator we can use words to breath life into the dust of times and places that never were or restore life to the long dead; an everyday miracle. Words are like living things in themselves, capable of growing, changing, spreading, and influencing reality in ways both seen and unseen. They are your offering to the world, sent forth to give it shape and meaning. Instead of a carefully prepared gift, too often they’re shoved in a sack, hastily bound in barbed wire, and tossed at strangers from a speeding car.

I wonder what sort of world we are creating for each other with the words we throw. Will it be a world of constant chatter, and mean spirited drivel or one in which we can hear God’s whispers? Choose wisely.


Linking to:

Serenity Now

Women Living Well

23 Comments leave one →
  1. July 1, 2011 10:44 pm

    Wow! How poetic and true. You have a way with words my friend.

    As you know this has been on my mind. I tend to over-think everything I say and how I wish I could re-say things. With the written word, things are even harder.

    People can’t see body language, can’t hear inflection, can’t see the smirk on my face. They might not understand intensions. We should be very careful what we communicate.

  2. July 2, 2011 12:06 am

    Seldom, if ever, do I disagree with you … and this post is no exception.

    I am amazed at not only how we put things out there… but what we say.

    Maybe, in less lightened times, we were a tad prudish, but I feel that to make every waking moment someone ELSE’S business is self aggrandisement to the enth degree! Really, does everyone need to know when or how you go to the restroom??

    Somehow, somewhere, someone needs to slap our society into looking at ourselves so that civility can some how creep back in.

    Have a wonderful 4th my friend!

  3. Jennifer permalink
    July 2, 2011 6:23 am

    Amen Deb! Great post; you’ve said everything I’ve often thought!

  4. July 2, 2011 8:02 am

    You really hit the nail on the head here! I try to take my mom’s advice when I write, if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all. It seems lately that manners and respect have flown out the window lately. Everything is “in writing”. What happened to making a deal on a handshake? Or making a call to see if someone is ok? Now it is all facebooking ,texting and emailing. People should be more conscience about the content too. Bravo to you my friend for once again, eloquently stating the facts.

  5. Barb Rose permalink
    July 2, 2011 8:48 am

    Very profound insight. I bookmarked it, so as to be able to re-read it several more times. Thank you……you really “hit the nail on the head”.

  6. July 2, 2011 8:50 am

    Wonderfully written, Deborah!
    You will always be one of my favorite writers! 😀

  7. July 2, 2011 9:27 am

    Beautifully said. Thank you for inspirational words that gave me pause. Have a wonderful weekend 🙂

  8. July 2, 2011 10:27 am

    Great post.
    Hope you’re have a wonderful weekend. 🙂

  9. July 2, 2011 11:14 am

    Lovely Deborah, we can impact people every day with our words, for the better or worse.

    Art by Karena

    Come and join a very Fashionable Giveaway!

  10. Pondside permalink
    July 3, 2011 1:47 am

    It’s been far too long since I visited Fairfield House. What a good post to come back to. I was thinking, recently, about the letters I have handed down to me – letters from my uncles overseas during WWII to their mother, letters from my mother to me when I lived overseas, letters that I wrote to my sisters when my children were small (returned to me to keep) and I am sorry that my children will have nothing more lasting than whatever’s been saved on the computer or Iphone. The written word is truly a living thing to me – I would hate to see the end of printed books, but I fear that this will one day come to pass.

  11. thestoriesofatoz permalink
    July 3, 2011 7:26 am

    Amen. Thanks for sharing your gift of words with all of us!

  12. July 3, 2011 9:28 am

    Oh Dang, Deborah!
    Now you’re making me think on a weekend . . . .

    And I’m thinking that you are right.
    Enjoy the 4th in whatever South Jersey way you choose!

  13. July 3, 2011 1:39 pm

    You are an inspiration, and I heart your well chosen words. Thank you for sharing. xoxo michele

  14. July 3, 2011 8:43 pm

    This was a beautifully written, entirely thought-provoking, and very real post, Deborah. “Words are like living things in themselves, capable of growing, changing, spreading, and influencing reality in ways both seen and unseen.” Perfectly said. May I share this on my blog, friend? (Well, link to it?) I don’t think I’ll be able to write anything as awesome tonight.


  15. July 5, 2011 7:13 am

    Very wisely said. We all are guilty of throwing words out there and you’re right, you can’t just take them back. Hopefully your post will give pause to us the next time we speak.

    Have a great week,

  16. July 5, 2011 4:20 pm

    Beautifully written and so true….


  17. July 5, 2011 5:30 pm

    Such truth in this post! Thank you! xoxo

  18. July 6, 2011 5:21 pm

    This is a beautifully written post… thank you for sharing these words.

  19. andrea permalink
    July 6, 2011 6:37 pm

    your words always amaze me….and I too absolutely agree.

  20. July 7, 2011 10:02 am

    Can think of no words just now, save two: thank you.

  21. July 9, 2011 11:19 am


    I don’t take the power of the written word lightly. I was the advisor to a high school newspaper 6 years ago when I didn’t allow students to print an obscene cartoon. They sued the school district, claiming they were being censored. I was trying to teach them our responsibility as journalists — that we have an obligation to respect our power in print and not to print frivolous, obscene nonsense just because “we can.” In any case, they lost in the local court, appealed and just lost in the second circuit US Court of appeals. Decision was that their consitutional rights were not violated 🙂 I was happy to see that we haven’t lost our standards.
    I worry that we are losing the beauty of print in all of the technological advances. Newspapers are going out of business . . . Borders book store just closed its doors in our town, most likely due to the Kindle craze. I still prefer real books and real newspapers, although I’m loving having a blog and reading so many other blogs too!
    I could go on forever . . . Great thought-provoking post!

  22. July 9, 2011 10:57 pm

    Love your writing …. words from you heart.

  23. July 15, 2011 1:27 pm

    I read this post to my mom and she had me bookmark it for her so she could read it to her students when term resumes in a few months.

    Your words are reaching so many people my friend!

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