The Words We Speak

Part of the joy of blogging is writing….just cuz’….It’s a great creative outlet for the random thoughts swimming through my mind: Getting words from my head and heart onto (I almost said paper) the computer. Quite some time ago I did a blog post called Love Of Words. I love words and I try to use big words which I sometimes get confused. I jokingly say, “If I can’t spell it then I can’t use it,” but I try anyways and spend much of my time correcting my misspelled words (yay for online dictionaries).
There is such value in words and how they affect us. My husband, who is a minister, paraphrased what is typically called the Love chapter from1st Corinthians 13
  • When I talk to you I will always speak patiently, which means I will listen more than I talk.
  • I will only speak kind words and I will not embarrass you or use my words to exert myself over you.
  • I will not puff myself up and speak empty words that are self inflating and I will always treat you with more respect than anyone else.
  • I will never be rude and interrupt so that I can get my own way.
  • When we are talking I won’t get easily offended or defensive and I will never use your words against you.
  • I won’t entertain the thought of how to win the argument even if I am right but I will celebrate in the idea of discovering the truth of the matter.
  • My words will always protect you and my words will communicate and build trust.
  • My words will only build a sense of great expectations and not give room for doubt or fear.
  • My words will only communicate a heart to stick it out no matter how bad things get; they will say, “I am here for the long haul.”
  • I will live up to my words and I will never say “I don’t love you anymore.”

Part of my Love Of Words blog post was about a beautiful couple, the Lutrells. Here is an excerpt from that post:

Certain words can strike fear in the hearts of the bravest of souls: war, poverty, earthquakes, cancer, death. It is an endless list. But then again, words are just that; words. They do not define the character and strength of a man. Those qualities come from the heart, not the head. A friend of ours, Terence Luttrell, was diagnosed in July 2009 with advanced stage IV prostate cancer at the age of 46. His prognosis was inoperable and incurable and he was given 18 months to live. I can only imagine what a difficult, nearly three-year battle it has been for this precious family. And while they fight against the ugly words of cancer, chemo, incurable, inoperable, words that could cause faith to waver in many, it is strength-building words like grace, mercy, peace in the journey that give them courage and hope through their steadfast faith in Christ.

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The other day Sherry, Terrance’s wife, posted this on Facebook and I’ve been chewing on and mulling over these beautiful words of comfort since I read them. (Sherry gave me permission to tell their story. Here is the link to their blog: http://liveabovecancer-terence.blogspot.com)

“In the wee hours of the morning, Terence and I found ourselves having a small discussion. I accidentally woke him because I kept trying to scoot my feet around until I could touch his feet. Terence: “Why are you so restless?” Sherry: “I’m worried, and praying over you. Sometimes I feel scared that you’re leaving me”. Terence (eyes closed, speaking between exhales): “My Bride……don’t worry…….I’m in a good place……I’m in my Father’s hands…..no better place….(exhale and snore)”. To that, I finally fell asleep at 4:20 AM

So where am I going with this? This morning I read some incredibly beautiful words from my friend Sherry. After becoming a widow a while back, she met and has now married a wonderful man. I gather from her post that she’s had to endure some “interesting” words over her choice, but I am thankful that she has taken the time to respond to her life’s decision in such an honest and vulnerable way which has been her approach over the past several years.

*Taken from Sherry’s blog, http://sherryluttrell.com.

How soon is too soon?
By Sherry Luttrell- Sellentin

This isn’t Gone With the Wind. Scarlett knew the rules on widowed decorum because society at that time spelled it out. Mourning lasted for one year. You wore black. Attempted to look resolute and somber, smiling wanly as you sat out your “black-shirted” year on the wallflower bench. It may have sucked, but everyone was clear on the time frame and waited(while perhaps discreetly lining up suitors for once the deadline had passed).

Today? Not so clear. Whereas the newly divorced are free and encouraged to take the field again as soon as they like, the widowed is expected to navigate religious, family and community rules on the subject, and they vary.

Jeff and myself on our recent wedding day.

So how soon is too soon?

The best answer I ever heard was something along the lines of “taking a date to the funeral, or hooking up in the crying room of the funeral home, is probably a faux pas, but otherwise, it’s up to you.”

And sister ‘widows’, it is up to us!

Our family and friends will be at different stages of “ready for you to date” than you are. Taking their feelings into account is good, but don’t forget that they have their own lives to live and should leave the minding of yours to you. If you weren’t living your life by committee prior to your spouse’s death, don’t start now. You can’t please everyone, and what other people – even your kids – think about you isn’t your business anyway. Generally, if you have good, supportive relationships with kids, extended family and friends, this will all work out and they will be happy and supportive.

The point is that the days of donning mourning for public displays of grieving for specific periods of time are long over.

Anyone who is placing rules and timelines over you has an ulterior agenda, and you are within your rights to question them and it.

My steps

It’s your life and only you and the Lord know what’s best…..from Sherry. (Connect with Sherry’s blog for her whole story).

It’s always good to be reminded that our words have the ability to build up or tear down. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” It’s a choice we all get to make daily: To speak kindly with love and compassion, regardless. I tend to be a little sarcastic and silly at times, but may I always know the boundaries and not overstep them. How sad it would be to know I was responsible for causing deep wounds in someone by my words, even “accidentally.” In the same regard, how wonderful it would be to know that a few simple words said in kindness could bring a bit of life back into a dry and thirsty human soul.

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Photo by Amy Renea

I’m really not sure why I felt compelled to write this post. But just maybe someone who loves to read words might read mine (and Sherry’s) and find words of encouragement and hope being whispered to their heart.

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