Words hold much more power than can be fully understood.
Words are tasty, life-giving, life-altering, sometimes dangerous, nearly always provocative, rich, encouraging, destructive weapons. Or healing salves. They can be used to build up or tear up. They shape us: Confidence or insecurity are direct results of the words we hear as children, even as adults. Why are words so darn powerful?
Words always come from the heart.
They may not be words we want to hear or speak, but they always come from that deep place in a human being where all of our un-permissible feelings and thoughts live - where we hide away what might be the best parts of ourselves with all the Worst Parts, you know, so we can be like "everyone else" and people will like us. What sucks is that the Worst Parts really have no respect for the tight lid we are trying to keep on them and those creepy jerks find their way to the surface when we are tired, or hurting. Or just really pissed off.
When they are particularly venomous, they stick in that disgusting, can't-stop-hearing-it-or-being-hurt-by-it-brain-spasming-heart-cracking-I-wish-I-could-turn-my-head-off kind of way. Our thoughts fly around the words, looking at them from every angle, trying to determine meaning and re-living their painful, surprising birth into our lives, and we are left to reach, so desperately, for a stable place on which to steady ourselves. There are far more of these words in the world, slithering out of the Worst Parts of us, than there are of the good kind.
Beautiful poetry, kind statements from a friend, a well told story that makes us laugh, a gracefully penned song that reminds us of Joy and Redemption, a piece of scripture that details the Love of a Father; they undo our defenses and release us to the possibility of healing, they return us to ourselves. We want these words. We search for these words - because we need them to be able to survive the attacks of the Worst Parts of ourselves.
Forever, good or bad, these little travelers go with us.