Sticks and stones

Published 9:00 am Sunday, June 2, 2024

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” I don’t know who to credit for that “sage” observation, but that individual didn’t know what he or she was thinking! Words definitely can hurt and leave scars that are engraved on hearts and minds.

I’m to that laughable stage of forgetfulness. I’m grateful to still have breath, but it is a bit frustrating to walk toward a room with intent to retrieve a particular item and forget what that item is by the time I get to that spot. However, as poor as my memory may serve me now, I can still recall those caustic words I heard years and years ago — words aimed at me in sarcasm, jest or anger. I’m blessed that there aren’t many to recall, but the fact is undeniable. Even though I’ve forgiven the perpetrators, I somehow still remember the pain those unkind, thoughtless words inflicted.

So, I know from experience the power of words and continue to be fascinated with the power of the spoken and written word. I have favorite authors who take me from my reading chair in my neutral-colored den to an island paradise with its pristine water, gently swaying palm trees and the smell of Panama Jack sunscreen. The author’s wordsmith talents take me where he is — all with no mode of transportation other than words.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Recently I was caught up in a word concept I had never considered — a fast of words! The idea sounded much easier than giving up gooey desserts and freshly baked breads. Certainly I could handle this with much greater ease and less demanding than giving up food. Yes, I would sign up for this challenge.

The terms weren’t complicated. In fact they seemed elementary. I would refrain from using any negative words and any grumbling or murmuring about anything including the weather which would fall under that heading. Judgmental words were also off limits. If I couldn’t say something positive, I would remain silent. If I knew information, but if it were unkind or unnecessary (putting it under the judging category) I would keep lips closed. I was naïve of the depth of the word fast challenge. It took being aware of EVERY word I spoke before I realized how many careless, judgmental words flowed much too freely from my lips.

Be warned! A word fast isn’t for the weak of heart or tongue!  We live in a society of verbal slaughter with little thought for the injured or permanently damaged. I know — there are plenty out there that don’t deserve praise but indictment for ungodly lifestyles and words. However, God said He would deal with the ungodly. My occupation should be with what comes out of my mouth. I confess — that’s a full-time job!