Forget jewelry, speak from the heart

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and whether you have a significant other or not, you have a gift that will cost you nothing, and it may mean the world to someone else. The gift: a few words, rightly spoken.

Words count, and using the appropriate word counts a great deal.

A dear friend and her equally dear husband sat in a committee meeting to plan a church dinner. “Who’s bringing the condoms?” her husband questioned.

My friend began to slide under the table.

Red faced, her husband corrected himself, “I mean the condiments.”

My teenage daughter cleared the swimming pool she shared with her brother and his friends, when she said sweetly, “Let’s do circumcise swimming.” And even if she’d said synchronized swimming, I don’t think they would’ve gone along with it.

Year’s ago our bi-vocational pastor stunned the congregation when he pounded the pulpit and declared, “The church is a living orgasm.” But no one would argue with the point that the church is a living organism, made up of a body of believers, each with unique qualities and gifts.

Well, you get the picture.

I love words and trying to fit them together in a pleasing way. Sometimes I use my “Roget’s College Thesaurus” to find the perfect word. At other times, I hear or read a word that is new to me, and try to build it into my writing, but that may sound pretentious. There, I worked that one in.

It’s hard to be original, because, as King Solomon said, “there is nothing new under the sun.” So, mostly I pick up my old musty-smelling dictionary that I inherited from my grandmother, I turn the yellowed pages and look up a word that I know, then I go with one of the other options it gives.

I am a self-confessed bibliophile. I know that sounds provocative, but just look it up – it’s actually about as controversial as a bookworm.

Words do matter. Simple words of kindness like “how are you feeling,” “good job” or “do you need to talk?” But, as presidential candidate Barack Obama has found, there are some words that can stand alone as inspirational, such as “change.”

You can use your words to lift someone’s spirits, but all too often we use them to drag someone down. Worse yet, we spew hate and vitriol.

A person, whom I respect, stopped me the other day just to say, “I really respect what you write.” I was blown away. In fact, I was so moved I wanted to cry. It had been a particularly grueling week and I was feeling low. It was just what I needed: a few words of unsolicited encouragement.

How are you using your words?