‘Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never harm me’ is a fallacy.
Words can hurt. They can cut right to the core of your being and can echo around and around in your mind and drive you to despair.
Just think of the abuse of text bullying. A few choice words here and there, and cuts are made to the heart and maybe to the skin. I wonder how many suicides and suicide attempts have a few words as the catalyst of destruction.
A barrage of abuse on a weakened spirit can break the will to go on. Words like nails are hammered into your psyche.
I think of Jesus and the barrage of words rained down upon him in his trial. Matthew 26.
Words can drown out life.
Words can also be the soothing balm needed on a wounded heart.
Little phrases like
You’re going to make it
I’m going to help you
I am with you
Words and gestures from ‘Big people’ in your life. That older person, that person with the street cred, mana, wisdom, grey hair. That one, for reasons unknown to yourself, who just whispers to the heart ‘you’re going to be ok’.
I listen to many words through a range of podcasts.
I discovered Nadia Bolz-Weber on the Podcast Onbeing where she was interviewed by the host Krista Tippet.
In the podcast Nadia states these words.
I have this thing about being a preacher who reveals things about herself, and it’s that I always try to preach from my scars and not my wounds. So, talking about depression is not in any way a wound for me.
When I heard this I felt connected with her journey, her depression, wounds and scars.
So I created a meme, and now it has been my most repined image on Pinterest.
Why has this been so incredibly popular?
I think that the image grabs you because it’s a real person, like us. Not some model, superstar or icon, and yes I know they are real too.
The words I think touch down on some core pain points. Our wounds and our scars.
They give us a sense of hope that wounds can, in time, become scars. That we don’t have to be stuck as wounded forever and that out of those battles there can come a gift.
For Nadia Bolz – Weber, as a pastor, the gift is preaching. For others it could writing, singing, teaching, listening etc…
What is your gift?
Today I listened to a an interview with Rob Bell. He was talking about a time where he was speaking in Miami and a women in the audience stood up and asked this question.
What do you say to somebody whose young daughter has just died from a mysterious illness that only a few people get. What do you say to me, because I have just lost my daughter.
I said first off in the ancient wisdom tradition in some suffering there are no words, there’s silence.
So first off I would begin with that any one that does give you nice clear-cut answers for why your daughter died, I don’t know.
Secondly I do know this, that some point down the road your going to meet up with a women who has also lost her young daughter and your going to look at her in the eyes and your going to say ‘me too’ and in that moment that you’ll be standing on some holy ground. Solidarity is divine. When someone stands with you.
Here is what happens. The woman standing next to her starts gushing and says ‘My young daughter is really sick and they have only given her a little bit of time to live and this woman turns to her. Rob Bell – How to Practice and Understand Faith and Spirituality
Words, solidarity, hope.