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Words – Reflections of the Soul 2012-03-21

Words… Reflections of the Soul

I was recently at a meeting of volunteers where the people are very honest and supportive of each other. It is such a pleasure to be with a group of people who are “real” with each other and accepted as such. In fact, I noted aloud,  “what an awesome group! We are just like family!” As I made that comment to my friend, we looked at each other and paused in thought, then she said,“without all the icky stuff!”

Yes, the icky stuff…  the games we play with each other – putting on a façade instead of being real. Yes, those things we think we are hiding that everyone already knows. It’s actually rather humorous – we so often try to hide from those who know us best. Think about it, how many times have you waited for someone to tell you what you already know just so you could get it out in the open?

It is interesting how easy it is to go on power trips… “I know something you don’t… ” or to judge another person based on our own feelings (aside from facts).  “Power corrupts,” or so it’s said. So do you suppose that’s why it is so easy to fall into gossip mode? We love the power over others? We smugly whisper,  “don’t tell A, about B.” We make all sorts of claims and excuses, “I don’t want to hurt B… or I don’t want A to not like B…”  Really? Then why are you talking about it?  There are some secrets that need to be kept – such as a friend in pain who just needs someone to hold her heart for a while. I must confess, there are others that are hurtful in the keeping, especially when we talk about someone instead of to them.

In counseling we use the phrase “the elephant in the room.” Often there is a problem that is so obvious that it is like having an elephant in the room and everyone talks around it, pretending it is not there. The problem with elephants is that the longer you ignore them, the more cleaning up you have to do.  In the end, this kind of secret has power over you, instead of you having power over it as you hold it in, and dance around the truth, you find yourself trampled and caught up in the web of deceit you spun yourself.  Speaking to others can bring clarity and healing.

There is so much power in our words, the power to encourage, the power to destroy, the power to hurt, the power to heal… yet we fling words around like leaves in the wind, then we are surprised when we they explode like a loose cannon. I wonder if we would be so casual flinging words if we recognized that many of them cut like a knife?

 In Proverbs 16:20-24 it says, “The wise in heart will be called prudent, And sweetness of the lips increases learning.  Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. But the correction of fools is folly. The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, And adds learning to his lips. Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”

How precious are those who offer sweet words that fill the soul… mmmm, reminds me of dessert, yes, the finale of a tasty main course. But, how often do we offer those sweet words to a few, and have only leftovers, or crumbs left for others? Sure, they can survive on leftovers and crumbs, but it is that the way to live? And the leftovers we are hoarding, the crumbs we so stingily dole out… how long until we’ve only a pocket of mold? Is it because some hearts have only a little love and are able to share little beyond a precious few who are close to them? I think not! The more we love, the more we are able to love, and the more often those pleasant words like honeycomb cross our lips, the more sweetness and health permeates not only the soul of the recipient, but also our own.

So, if our words our reflections of our soul, what do they say about us? Are they hard and biting, like handfuls of shattered glass or are they sweet and refreshing, peaceful reflections?  Maybe today I’ll spend a little more time polishing that reflection and a lot less polishing the reflection in the mirror.