The great minds agree that the words we speak, create. We can send out unkind or healing words -- our call. The words we use to describe ourselves affects our self-esteem. We can also change our journey using words.
It’s interesting how lessons we have to learn start to appear in various areas of our lives. It’s good that they don’t avalanche over us all at once, but come gracefully, one by one. Okay, maybe gracefully is not the best word, sometimes lessons pummel us over the head. My point is, the creating power of our words seems to be my current issue, again. It has been showing up in my reading materials. It’s made me think back about my words.
My first memory on this issue was an incident from twenty-some years ago, when I stopped my car on the side of a country road - my then-husband was coming home after working out of state for 2 peace-filled months. During his absence breathing was easier. The kids migrated from their rooms, blooming like roses. We talked, laughed, enjoyed one another. I was less distracted and able to focus on them. I could take care of tasks and make plans without fear that they would interfere with his wants and needs. The kids and I ate dinner without the glaring unused dishes at the head of the table, a harbinger that he would come home drunk and most likely angry. During the time he was gone, I didn’t need to be “on” all the time, hyper-vigilant to his every wish to ensure peace in our home.
Now he was coming home. A suffocating black cloud of fear and dread cloaked me. Stopped aside the road that day, I opened my door, stepped out and shouted to God and all of creation, “I refuse to live like this anymore.”
My husband came home. Numb, I walked through the motions. There was a sense that dominoes were falling around me. I didn’t know what was going to happen. Hoped that through some miracle he would be healed of his alcoholism, his anger issues and maybe even come to love me (I though these were the problems, didn’t know it was domestic abuse).
I left for work one morning and tears began to roll down my face. Why was I crying? Willing them to stop, did no good, they continued. Again I stopped on the side of the road. Tried to pull myself together, sop up the tears. Couldn’t go to work like that. There was no stopping them. All I could do was return home.
Once there, my husband interrogated me. “What’s wrong with you?” was the gentlest of his comments. I didn’t know how to answer. I spent the day sitting in a chair in the bedroom, fighting the feelings I’d kept so diligently pushed down under the surface of justifications I’d created to survive. Finally, I had to face the facts - there was no way I could save this marriage. I’d done everything I knew how to do. It was time to give it up and admit that if the marriage would survive, it would be by God’s hand, not mine. I released my grip. Let go. Could what will happen next be any worse then what the kids and I were already going through?
Those dominos began to fall into place. My children went to visit my parents in another state. While at a gathering with friends in our old neighborhood, my partner blew up at me. This was the first time any of our friends had see the violent side of him. He told me to go pack our things, we were leaving. I did. Others tried to reason with him, he’d been drinking all day. I was petrified to get in the car and travel the two hours home. Didn’t know if we’d make it and terrified of what he’d do to me if we did. When I came into the kitchen, he said, “Let’s go.”
Suddenly, I was standing in a dark room. The door was open, there was light out there that didn’t shine into the darkness. A voice said, “If you don’t leave now, that door will close and you will live in this darkness forever.”
It was the first time I ever told my partner, “No.”
He erupted. The men at the party protected me and sent him away. I believed that he’d come back later that night and kill me. He didn’t.
Words, spoken on the side of a road started a new future for me. Even though I meant those words, God had to wrestle control from me in the quiet of my bedroom, and again in my friend’s kitchen. “What’s it going to be?” We alway have a choice.
My lesson: After we speak our truth to creation we need to get out of its way.