The Power of Words

I have recently been reminded of the power of words in our lives. The older I get, the more I love the fact that I can actually remember the words of the “oldies” I hear playing in the gym, the grocery, the department store, etc.  I love the words for different reasons now….I can actually remember them from the 70’s!!  Big “woo” on that one! My husband has just come in my office to let me know that I never actually started the dryer after loading it, but….by George, I can remember those Herman’s Hermits, Eagles, and Beatles lyrics!

Words stay with us…particularly those old words from sacred sources that were engrained in us in childhood, lyrics of hymns that gave us strength 50 years ago, words of wisdom spoken years ago by a parent who has become a child again.  We look for words to soothe us in trouble, anxiety, shame, and searching. We look for words to use in celebration. Sometimes our friends provide exactly the thing we need for “the fix.” Sometimes the “fix” is immediate…sometimes it is far, far away, clothed in uncertainty.

Most of the time, I write happy tunes. I like happy tunes.  I like happy lyrics. I like making people feel better by listening to my music. I like the fact that for many singers, they tell me that my music makes them want to sing. To my way of thinking, that is an amazing compliment. Somehow the notation and lyrics have gotten into the heart, and it is all good.

I have recently been reminded of the power of words in our lives.  I have become sensitive to how the power of words becomes molded into emotions of fear, anger, relief, joy, and hope. Of course, the order of those words can be most random at times, and frankly, we would just rather “stick with the good stuff,” huh?

For my husband (and me), the power of words came crashing down a couple of days before Christmas with the words “You have cancer.” It has sent our lives into an area of “being” and “doing” that we could not have imagined, but nevertheless, it is very real.

Thankfully, we have experienced the relief of “You are responding to treatment.” Powerful words of hope and joy! Words of uncertainty also “pepper the mix” along the way, and we find that the most powerful words out there might be the ones we say to ourselves. “This treatment has been effective for others,”….”We have had encouraging news”….”I’m doing okay.”

Strangely, we are just now actually defining what some of these phrases we have been using over the years actually mean to the recipient and the power assigned to these words by those who hear them. “You are in our thoughts and prayers”….such a cliché….but what a great cliché for us now! It isn’t overused…in fact, we could listen to it all day now.

You get my point, the power of words changes, according to the power we give them in our lives.  In the midst of life’s challenges, I still love finding the right melodic pitch and rhythm for the right word in music. Think about the word that has changed life for you recently.  Keep it…or not…but at least assign it the “due” it deserves. It is a powerful word.