I am haunted by words.
Not in the frightening sense, or even in that writing scares me. It bewilders, frustrates and confounds me at times but the act of writing doesn’t frighten me.
But I am brought up short by words I’ve written, said or have not written or said and should have. There are some in particular I wish I could take back or certainly take another run at.
I’ve spent a lot of years writing articles, stories, books, screenplays, plays, just about every medium trying to come up with just the right word, the best turn of a phrase to convey my exact meaning. Sometimes the words flow as they should and it’s extremely gratifying. Other times, the words lay there, inert, awkward, not quite right and not at all what I envisioned.
See, that’s the thing about writing. Ideas are easy. It’s having a great idea and not screwing it up on the way to the page that’s the tricky part.
It’s kind of the same with life. I’ve written notes or letters to people and have caused hurt. Almost always unintentionally. Sometimes the hurt is inevitable because of the circumstances or the need to call on behavior that is harmful. But there are times when the words come out in a stream of emotion and what I thought I conveyed was instead interpreted as something else. And feelings were hurt. Distances created. Friendships tarnished.
It hasn’t happened often and only a handful of times over my life. But words are powerful and they can be heat-seeking missiles and once we fire them, it can be very difficult to undo the damage they have on impact; no matter how hard we try to clean up the mess.
This isn’t meant as a confessional. More like reflection and a renewed effort to handle words with greater care.
So, I am haunted by words. By the power they carry to move, transport and change. Words like, hurt, pain, grief, loneliness, why…
But I also love words for the very same reason. They can be carrier pigeons taking possibilities in flight that can bring truth, healing and make the soul soar. Words like, friendship, joy, healing, hope and love.
May our words find the light that brings out the best of what they were meant to be.