A Single Word

Plastic ramps, funnels, and tubes were strewn across my front porch. Here and there, glass marbles glinted in the afternoon sun. In the center of the marble-genuis-maze mess sat my son, in tears. “I can’t clean it up. It’s too much.”

“Yes you can. You can do it. See?” I opened a large cloth bag and dropped in a spiral track. “One piece at a time and it will be done before you know it.”

He lifted a thin corkscrew track, straining as if it were a boulder. The piece barely made it into the bag before he collapsed and curled in a ball. “There’s too many.”

I scooped up a handful of marbles. “Don’t say, ‘I can’t, I can’t’, say, ‘I can, I can.’ Henry Ford said, ‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.’”

Taras slowly raised his face. I could see his mind churning. “So” — His eyes gleamed with mischief — “if I think I can’t eat my broccoli, I’m right.”

It was my turn to collapse into the middle of the pile and curl up into a ball, laughing until I couldn’t breathe.

There is power in the spoken word. In the beginning God spoke and the universe exploded into existence. He spoke again to create the pinnacle of that creation: us, beings made in his image. Words are so significant, God even refers to himself as the Word.
Like our maker, we have power in our words.
I know a beautiful, elegant woman, now in her late 70s. Throughout her life, she could have rivaled Grace Kelly. I am not exaggerating. But when she looks in the mirror, a version of the stocky tomboy she was as a pre-teen looks back. Words ring in her mind, “fatty, fatty 2×4 couldn’t get through the bathroom door.” She never knew she was beautiful. Her entire life has been lived in prisons built with words.


Words can also set people free.

I’ll never forget the Friday a friend did that for me. Early morning conversation filled the breakfast cafe with life. Sunlight streamed through plate glass windows where Daffy duck and Elmer Fudd danced in bright colored paints. Across the table from me, my friend scratched his unshaven stubble and stared at a typewritten piece of paper: my book manuscript. He shoved a piece of jelly covered toast in his mouth and slowly raised his eyes. “What the heck are you doing?”
“Huh?” My forkful of eggs stopped halfway to my mouth.
“What are you doing with THIS? Your story is incredible.”
He didn’t know how many years my soul had lain buried under a mountain of desperation; my life was filled with uncreative jobs to make money and unending to-do lists at home. His words sparked a lifetime-sized pile of tinder, and something in me exploded. I knew what I had to do. I sold my company and cancelled all the extracurricular fluff that filled my extra time. I stepped into the next chapter of my life – as a writer.
Every great person had someone tell them so. Every great venture had someone who encouraged and believed in the people behind it. I have been given divine power. What will I do with it? I’ll make the effort to notice when people excel. I won’t ever hold back on compliments, or positive observations. Anything is fair game – a great speaking voice, delicious cookies, great organizational skills, even an innovative perspective that I might disagree with. I need to just say it! Sometimes I worry the hearer will think I want something from them. But how do I know they aren’t the person who will cure cancer or bring about the end to a war. What if that waiter or cashier is the next Martin Luther King Jr. or Mother Teresa; what if they just need someone to believe in them right now?
In the beginning God created this amazing world with his words. What kind of world am I creating with mine?
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“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
~ Mark Twain
“The words we speak in the physical realm move mountains and bend destinies in the spirit realm. Here you encourage someone; there you give the tools to climb out of a pit. Here you lay your hand on someone’s shoulder; there you’re marking a life for blessing. Here you say a simple prayer; there the hosts of heaven receive their battle commands.”
~ Healy, Blake.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk…
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.”
~ God. Isaiah 58