For as long as I can remember, words have mattered to me - my childhood, my various stages of girl-child yearning to be a woman, found me nose to the broken spine of a book, sitting as close to the book shelves of the school library so as to get to the newest, freshest smelling book first, searching, searching, searching for a new character to connect with, a first kiss to be visualized in my head, discoveries of a craft, I had no idea at the time, that would shape my coping skills and therapeutic habits.
For as long as I can remember, words have mattered to me - and I was often too smart-mouthed to think through those that came out of my mouth - but mattered to me, they did, all the same.
My twenties found me in classrooms, in lectures, in workshops - writing, writing, writing - and eventually learning to love the painful, intense process of editing and revising - because that's life, right? Live out a sentence - and then revise your steps, your breaths, the position of a cock-eyed head and a bit lip - revise it and edit it for the next time - if there would be a next time.
Live out a sentence . . .
In the midst of growing pains that have far less to do with aching joints and much greater matter and emphasis on the heart and the repercussions of broken promises - words still matter a great deal. Sentences get strung together as I think out loud for others to read about what happened that one night, in the room I should have never been in - the conversation that happened in the quiet of the sunrise with the only One who loves me through every dirty digression I commit - in the quiet room with only the almost silent clicks of keys - words still matter . . .
Sometimes a life feels like it might need a quick CtrlAltDelete . . .
It used to be quotes - I would comb websites and books for them; I can still remember the painstaking time I took to select my senior quote for the yearbook - this is how people might remember you, Steph - this may be the only and very last thing they have to remember you by . . . And so I poured over letters and words, artists and writers, singers and actors - because words mattered and this quote, this single line next to a posed photo, that really didn't look all that much like me to begin with, was so important - detrimental to who I might go out and grow up to be.
I often wonder just what people thought of me after reading that quote - did they think at all . . .
College made me quite aware of how key the selection of words can be - to a young girl who wishes to set the world on fire with the very tidbits dancing off the tip of her tongue; phrasing matters, timing matters, sentence structure matters - and are you sure you really don't want ANY dialogue in that piece? It feels like it's missing something - oh, no, it's entrancing, it's divine, it's . . .
College made me question every word I put into the universe - so much that I almost just stopped . . .
Big girl job comes along and I am with children - teaching and mentoring and trying to make a difference and I am always questioning those words - that was too harsh - cut them a break - really? I mean, REALLY? did that just flow out of my mouth! But, I love you all, I do, I do, I do - I love you and I want to help you - you just might need to tell me how.
Words matter - a whole heap and bushel and peck - they matter . . .
Habakkuk wrestles with the ways of the world - He is troubled that the things that are happening around him are being allowed to happen at all. Much of the book named after him is a deep dialogue between he and the Lord - a little back and forth, if you will. But here's how I know that Habakkuk was a man who knew words mattered:
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Habakkuk said YET. He realized there was reason behind the distress, there was a story unfolding within the disorder, there were joys to be sung.
You see, words have always mattered to me - but they've seemed to have existed in planes in which they were formulating excuses; they were easily manipulating justifications; they were of important matter because they were falsehoods I was clinging to.
So much time is perpetually filled with me throwing parties of pity for my singleness, my full-figured-ness, and I'm not understood, but I'm too tired, and I want what I want now, now, now, NOW - Do You hear me? Why am I being punished?
Just who do I think I am - I'm not so special in my messiness; and no one is punishing me - He's just waiting for me to leave it with Him.
Because - aren't I given a brand new day with each sunrise? And haven't I grown since I moved past that sorry excuse of a relationship? And don't I know that He fulfills His promises? And just who am I kidding - because one day that one cookie just might ACTUALLY kill me - if I do not get up and MOVE. And I am in this valley because this is where the change happens, where the molding is done, where I need Him the most.
Words matter - because my buts need to become yet's - and my heart needs to seek His face in every situation - because He is not done with me.
Because He will never give up.
Because I disappoint Him, I hurt Him, I wander from Him, yet He loves me, cherishes me, and knew every move I was going to make before I came to exist.
Words have always mattered a great deal to me - because I believe life is not defined by the buts and the or's - life is thriving in the yet's.