Monday, March 14, 2011

21 Words

Thousands of words are spoken or written to each of us everyday. Some may be brief casual words via a text message, a stranger saying "God Bless you" when you sneeze, an outpouring of demands by a crying toddler or a request for payment from the utility company. Whatever they may say from whatever source they may come words comprise most of our daily existence. 

As for me, I have a strange love affair with words. I love to physically write. I love the art of handwriting (yet this blogging stuff doesn't allow for it). I love to manipulate words and play with the order and sound and work outside the boundaries of correct grammar and punctuation. I choose my words carefully, because I respect how powerful they are and I know that once expressed, forever they remain in the universe. I love to tell a story, which plays a huge role in how I teach. I have used my words in public forums, national television and in the comfort of my living room as a conduit for what God needs me to say to someone at a particular time. For the past fifteen years, anytime I am required to write and deliver a speech in front of a large crowd or required to use my studies to counsel another, my prayer is always the same. "Dear God, allow the words offered to be relevant." 

Conversely, however, I am extremely dismissive of most words that are offered to me. Not the everyday words.  I respect conversation. I adore receiving and reading written personal letters. I even respond to requests for payment. I'm referring to those moments when someone is trying to enlightening me, reach me, advice me, offer an opinion. Those are the words that I have come to regard as highly irrelevant. Rarely do I come across a person who can use those types of spoken or written words to reach me beyond the surface. In fact, one of my dearest friends said it best "Very few people speak Cazzie." I'm not proud of that, but it's true. I don't know why it is, but there are very few people in my world whose words move me, inspire me, touch me, and quite frankly are even welcomed. Most times when I am in need of those words, I go to an outside of my world source.  I will own the fact that this sounds (and may very well be) completely obnoxious. 

With that full disclosure made, someone SPOKE to me. It was a beautiful, simple conversation. In fact, it was just one beautiful simple sentence. They spoke "Cazzie" and I don't think they even knew the language existed. In fact, with just 21 words, all that I thought to be doing correctly, conditioned myself to do automatically, trusted to be the only true path, proven to work in my life without fail, had been turned upside down.  The strength of those 21 words, the logic beyond those 21 words, the passion in which each of those 21 words were stated,  the spirit in which each of those 21 words were offered has penetrated all my defenses and stopped me in my track. 

It's been days now since they were spoken. I can still hear them. It is as if I can see the written version of each word before my eyes when I close them. They are written beautifully in calligraphy with large loops and deeply slant towards the right. I've become a revisionist historian. I've taken those 21 words and tried to apply them to my past to imagine how I would have done things differently and benefitted greatly if I had heard those 21 words sooner.  

Those 21 words are a gift that the giver has no idea they gave. I am fairly confident that the giver has no idea of the impact of those 21 words. For all I know, the giver may not even remember saying those words. But I remember. The universe remembers. I have been blessed with a gift of 21 words that I plan to use, guide me and make me open to all that I was armored against. 

As I write this, I am contemplating whether or not to share those 21 words. I am fully aware that the 21 words  that rocked my understand of living, may in fact be completely irrelevant to someone else.  As painfully as it is to imagine, those same 21 words can be dismissed and ignored by another in the similar fashion that I have disregarded so many words offered to me before. What is profound to me may be immaterial to you. (As a build a shield around my 21 words!)  But honesty must lead the path. The 21 words were not an exclusive gift to me. I believe they should be shared in the spirit of continuing the blessing. So I will pass the gift on and as always I say "Dear God, allow the words offered to be relevant."

"I know your boat will make it ashore, but imagine how much easier it would be if you used a paddle." 

1 comment:

  1. Man I LOVE those moments! Thanks for sharing... what a great gift!