Monday, July 5, 2010

The Power of Words

There is just something powerful about words, written and spoken. While in Italy, at the Basilica of Saint Francis, I attended a mass, the prayers spoken in Italian. Even though I am not a religious person, and didn't know what was even being said, I felt the power of the words as first the priest spoke, then the congregation. Closer to home I am reminded of the power of three important words, "please" and "thank you," as I work with children and feel the result of the absence of those words. A friend of mine printed up prayer cards, the "Third Step Prayer," which reads:

God, I offer myself to Thee -to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always.

On the back of that prayer card I wrote a few little areas I needed help with. The first was fear. Writing that four letter word onto the back of the prayer card felt right. I felt as if, by writing what I was experiencing on the back of the words to a prayer that ultimately asks for help, made my request "official." The words, mine and another's, came together.

What is it about words, the sound, the beauty, the meaning that attracts me so? A toddler that first learns the word "no," a speech by Martin Luther King Junior, prayer, insults, or utterings of love. How can words, when read 40 years after spoken, still move us to tears? As I write this I am looking through scraps of paper with notes I scribble throughout the day, single words, words that will hopefully grow into essays, and hopefully those essays will be written with love and respect. Today I am in awe of the power of words.

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