… and thirds, fourths and fifths
Sophia means wisdom
With wisdom, words can heal rather than hurt, ourselves or another, because they hold immeasurable power. Magnify that further when it is spoken. Unlike the written word which is editable for much intended clarity, (“intended” for it can still be misunderstood), the spoken word carries the added burden of being un-editable.
Either lovingly whispered or angrily spewed from our being, the emotions behind the word creates an instant reaction that can spell love to blossom or disaster to ensue. Its power lies in the invisible. Much like a flower whose beauty is in the now, with eternity not on it’s side, we may loose the meaning of the spoken word entirely or be moved to tears from its beauty.
Of course, since at the other end of that tin-can-telephone is another person, carrying their own emotions and judgments of what they will hear, we can now truly behold what power and responsibility our words carry. May it be a conversation with another or one we hold with ourselves. We may suffer unnecessarily if we fail to appreciate this power.
How many relationships have we strained, broken or destroyed completely because of words? How many times have we pointed our fingers to the other because they just don’t understand? How many times have we been disgusted, annoyed, and given up because they didn’t listen? How many times have we simply tuned out?
Separations, divorces, estrangement, and disconnection, these are mostly by-products of words gone wrong, either spoken or heard. I am not merely referring to marriages here, but families, working relationships and even us with ourselves.
Fear and Silence
In the end, there are no more words. Fear of what words bring, is the birth of the most destructive of silence.
I will be the first to admit that, yes, I have seen most of what can go wrong happen in my life, and yes because of mere words. Interestingly enough, even when I thought that my words came from love, I was loving, I was doing everything possible to be nice, (or, so I thought, and there’s the rub), even with the most carefully thought out words, it was the same, anger and rejection still followed.
So I became silent, I lost the power of my words, in my mind, it didn’t matter what I said, there is nothing more to add, nothing more to say, there is only chaos when I opened my mouth. With that fear, I almost totally lost my voice.
I forgot the other end of that tin can telephone, each one of us forgot to listen without the fear and consequently, to respond without it.
Fear is the invisible that belies the wisdom in the words we speak and hear.
But, the most devastating conversation, the most destructive string of words ever thought or spoken was not with another, it was with myself. I let it tumble one after the other piling up like highway car crash disaster. I could not get out of that mess, much as I wanted to. Inside my head, there is no silence, I wish there was. Fear became this monster I fed with every thought, the more I became invisible… to the outside world I was even more silent and invisible.
To speak again
Slowly, after years of help, and countless number of times of trying, I am finding the courage to trust myself again. Funnily enough, it was after facing my much feared anger and rejection, that I was able to stand up to that fear. What they say is true, you really have to face the ugliness, the darkness that resides where you would not even dare look before you could even hope to shine a light on it.
I was running away from that fear as if I had any chance of succeeding. Fooling myself that I had it under control. There is no control, the only way is to replace it with trust again.
One of my favorite teachers emphasized that trust is not about the other, it is only about myself. If I can finally see myself again, truly see myself again, there can only be trust, for how can there be not?
Simple I know, but not easy, not anywhere easy at all. This post is definitely a short cut to that story of getting to the other side. But, one entry at a time, I am finding my words, my voice, with the hope that another would also find theirs.