As a lover of quotes, a few have come to mind lately:
“It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.” – Maurice Switzer
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Even saying nothing is saying something.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Over the last few weeks many of us have been the recipients of countless words. Words written, posted, shouted, opined, whispered and debated.
Many people have felt compelled to speak.
Many people have felt pressured to speak.
While some spoke out of reaction and self-preservation, others spoke out of empathy and heartfelt care.
Words build us up. Words tear us down.
Words can also completely miss their desired mark.
We unleash our tongues with the sincere intent of encouragement, only to discover we’ve destroyed or divided those we wanted to uplift.
For words cannot be unspoken. Forgiven maybe, often not forgotten. We can’t take them back once they’re said, as words take on lives of their own.
Alive in stories, arguments, persuasions and promises, in legislative documents and intimate conversations, they create connectedness, discord, harmony and offense.
They also lead to decisions that lead to actions that lead to results – sometimes immediate and sometimes in consequences that aren’t perceived for years and generations on.
Words are heard, read and interpreted, motivating us and breaking our hearts – as words are always attached to meaning.
For meaning imbues words with life.
There’s a time to speak words.
There’s a time for silent words.
Vital to both is wisdom.
The featured images is courtesy of Tom Darin Liskey and used with his kind permission for Cultivating and The Cultivating Project.