I’m getting older. I’ll just come out and say it. I turn 35 in a couple days. That’s halfway to 70. I’m practically dead.
The thing about getting older is that my childhood is slipping from focus. The details are becoming blurry. The photos don’t help either, mostly because time has faded them to weird orange/red color. It’s not just an Instagram filter people. This is my life.
The memories that come to me are odd. I remember my grandmothers. I remember the smell of one–an overpowering fusion of cigarette smoke and cheap perfume. I also remember “wooba wooba.” That was the word I used for my other grandmother’s ginormous flabby upper arms. I was convinced that she could fly like Dumbo with her wooba wooba if she wanted.
Mostly I remember words, not mundane conversation but the powerful words. I remember words shouted and whispered–phrases laced with emotion. I remember a babysitter calling me a “little s***” because I peed the bed. I remember an elementary school teacher announcing to my class that my life’s destiny was to be a “Lazy-Boy sofa tester.” Apparently she wasn’t terribly impressed with my work ethic. I remember a strange new sensation that flooded me the first time a girl told me I was cute. I remember being called a “horse’s a**” for not doing something properly and I remember when my dad told me he was proud of me. I remember the words. I bet you do too. The scenes are blurry. The names escape me but the words and the faces that spoke them are as clear as yesterday.
There is a spiritual power in words. According to the Genesis narrative God spoke the world into being. With words he created a future.
If it is true that we are created in God’s image then it makes sense that our words are powerful as well. With our words we can create a future.
Whether you realize it or not, words have shaped your future. When you were young, the people around you molded you with their words. You learned to trust or to fear through words. Words told you whether you are beautiful or ugly. You learned that you are talented or worthless. You learned that you can or cannot. Words created your future.
“The tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21)
In fact, for years words have been breathing life into you. Or, they’ve been killing you. Words make you alive to who you truly are, to your talents, passions and dreams. Words give you the sustenance to push on. They create security, love and peace. Or, words sabotage your identity, talents, passions and dreams. Words crush your spirit and steal your will. They create fear, mistrust and chaos.
Do you see how powerful words are? There is a reason why we remember words. It’s because they shaped and continue to shape us. Words create future.
Each of us has been gifted with a tremendous power. Words. Regardless of what has been spoken to you, you have a choice in how you will speak. The words you speak have the power to shape your child’s self-concept. Your words will impact your friend’s future. Your words will affect the culture of your marriage 5 years from now. You have been gifted with the power to create future. How will you speak?