My father was a hard working man that selected his words carefully. Truth actually told he never selected more than a mere handful at any one sitting. On odd occasions he would pack me into his work pick-up, a 1957 red Ford, and haul my pre-teen randomness out to my Grandmother’s house in deep west
On those long rides down the straight and dusty
He has been absent from my world for more than 20 years, his early sixties life claimed by a cerebral aneurysm. I miss his silence as though it had been a symphony. And now in the 56th year of my life I work at my own use of words. I work at how to best use them. Or more accurately I wonder how to not use them when silence is the better selection.
Words are surely the most powerful tool we own. They can hurt. We can all give testimony to their sting. They can heal the soul and dry tears just as easily, and this remarkable reversible property is always dependent on how we select the words we wish to use and the tone of voice we use to grant them life.
What I know with the degree of certainty that is the consequential partner of the older man with half a brain remaining is that our words matter a great deal. My words have been missing here for a while, but they have been applied other places, for better or worse. Or maybe they have been spent on the great god of Who Cares. I know my father sometimes seemed to look at words that way. His eyes frequently said “Who cares about all that talking?” Maybe it was nothing more than the silence of his own mother that birthed the silence of the son.
But I have discovered I do care. Words are a gift to be used with wisdom. Ignoring their power and usefulness can be as sinful as using them to negate.
I am working on using words in a better manner. Maybe the path of Goldilocks is what I seek, where my words are neither too few, nor are there too many, but somehow just right. And maybe by some sort of grace the words will even be the correct ones delivered in a suitable and welcomed tone.
For now I am having a small problem with this new exercise. I have been listening very carefully to my questioners and fellow conversators. (yes, conversators is a new word created here for my personal use) Now I think carefully before responding and I try to choose words that are appropriate and carry the proper meaning of what I want to convey. Several people have become agitated at my tardiness and repeated the question thinking I didn’t hear it on first resonance. I suppose next they will merely walk away. If they do they might miss the most carefully thought out and meaningful response I can give. I mean really, it could be very good after I have thought it all out.
You know what they say, “everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.” I suppose waiting on me can be a bit like dying if you are already old?