Monthly Archives: January 2009

Words. Use with Caution

"The pen is mightier than the sword."

When a friend goes through troubling times, I sometimes wonder if this is true. I so long to salve the wound, but every word I say or write seems inadequate at best. Most of the time, though, the friend lets me know my words indeed made a difference. They showed I cared and understood.

I recall my earlier days when school friends and enemies alike would say something that sliced deep into my core. I tried to remember the old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me," but I instead wished they had punched me in the face instead. Bruises heal faster than cruel words. In some ways I still carry those scars.

Words can inspire as well as destroy, and I am guilty of doing both.

When I write about politics, I take the chance of insulting those who take the opposite point of view. I’ve done so on more than one occasion, to the point some readers have proclaimed never to read another word. It saddens me, but I also understand.

At the same time, my words can inspire others. I received a glimpse of that when I wrote about an ongoing controversial and highly emotional issue. I hesitate to describe further, or even point you to the entry in question, because I don’t want to appear braggadocios (one of my all-time favorite words).

One lady responded (in part): "I stand and applaud you, Andra for saying, once again, what I want to….but I’ll leave the writing to the professionals..I’m just glad I have voices out ‘there’ that makes me feel not so quite alone in this."

She then wrote her own entry with a single sentence: "Thank you, Andra, for being the voice I long to be."

I was touched by her comment and entry, but at the same time a little fearful. It’s one thing to be my own voice, but to also speak for others, that’s quite a responsibility — and a burden at times. It raises expectations, and I will not always succeed in echoing the sentiments of others.

Words indeed have power. They have built nations by inspiring others to act. They have also torn down nations by inspiring others to act. I’ve seen people destroyed with words, and others uplifted.

I hope I never take for granted the strength and power of the double-edged sword of words I wield.

Up Next:  . . . No idea . . . I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants blogger.