Thursday, December 18, 2014

Friendship and Words

There is an old Yiddish lullaby that tells of a Rabbi teaching youngsters the alphabet. With classical Jewish tradition the Rabbi leaves the children with these final words, "When you grow up, you will come to understand how much pain and how many tears these letters contain. And joy. And majesty."

A little intense for a group of youths, but truer words have never been spoken. The power and gravity of our words goes further than we can ever imagine. The sentences we utter and the words we choose to use can have glorious ripples or awful repercussions. The tragedy lies in our ignorance. Most of the time we will not outwardly see the happiness or the dread our letters form. But pause for a moment and think of the last genuine compliment you received, how did it make you feel? Was it that hard for someone to notice something about you, and then articulate it to you? No. It was easy, but it likely made us feel very good, and perhaps even imbued upon us a desire to treat another with similar kindness.

I guess I am just nervous. I am nervous that I will live a life where I am not aware of the power of my words. And though I am not a media mogul, nor am I an obvious and influential pillar of the community I know that my words, like everyone's words have the power to resonate and change. My new dream, my new goal is to make a greater impact with my spoken word. Sure, I am a writer and aspire to touch people with the written word, but Lord knows I speak much more than I write. So I find it profoundly important to do better. I find that I need to use new adjectives. I am prompted to eulogize and compliment people with words they are not used to hearing. Why tell someone they look good today, when you can tell them there skin is shining, or that there hair looks like the hair of a Greek goddess? In short, I am trying to rid my vernacular of tired phrases and overused words. Describing everything as "cool" or "legit" is offensive to the vastness and beauty of the English language.

And on that same token I find it incumbent to rid my vocabulary of negative phraseology. What purpose does it serve me to complain? What advantage do I gain from criticizing and belittling another? Sure, it is outlandishly difficult to eliminate all negative speech from our dialogues, but why not try.

Now the topic of friends. The people we are closest to, sometimes even closer than family and with what words do we use towards them? Are we constantly correcting and judging our friends, or are we using powerful and poetic words to show them their potential? Just something to think about. The time we spend with our friends is incalculable, so why not try to infuse more positivity into one another's lives? All we have is our actions and our words. Volumes can and have been written on how to change our actions and behave better, but it all starts with the letters of the alphabet. The words we choose to use can change the world. Not only can they, but they certainly will whether we believe it or not.

I will finish with the everlasting words of one of my favorite authors ElieWiesel. In speaking of words, he said, "For some part of every word is sacred; all words should lean toward the sacred."