words, words, words. words have always been my soul’s language. i have always written, since i was a little girl and all my stories were about talking animals and secret passageways. i wrote poetry that i hid and songs that i sang to empty practice rooms. i wrote essays i hoped would capture the attention of my lit teachers and essays i hoped would answer questions i didn’t know were there.
then i got tired of imperfect writing. journals that were too messy or had unfinished entries. letters that just never said what i needed them to say. papers that were covered in red marks from favorite teachers and crumpled up ideas littering my dorm room floor. i used to write because i could, but as i grew up i kept it all inside because i could never find words that were good enough to make beauty out of the pain of life, and it didn’t seem worth trying and failing.
so i tried other things. i have always loved music, and i could listen all day, but was never good enough at it to speak fluently what was inside my heart. i have now grown to love photographs. i love the frozen moments and how they make us feel. i love what the blur of a runner or a tiny new bloom does to inspire us to want more out of life. but then there are missed moments and dying batteries and times when the light just doesn’t look the same as it did on that day, and there is a sorrow to the capturing. i also love paintings, and the symmetry and balance of good graphic design, and the drama of dance, but i admire them from a distance. i keep trying new art forms, learning new things like wood burning and gardening and nothing seems to fit just right.
and then i realized that words are my first love. they capture my heart, phrases crafted so perfectly together that the first read etches them deep into your eyes. words can paint a scene without brushes. words can cause harm without weapons. words can heal without medicine and words can make beauty out of thin air. i went back to reading, and ignored writing, and then something happened. words became a salve that covered over old fears and my perfectionistic criticism. God’s gift of words, of the richness of language and how He communicated who HE is through words, healed my ache to find meaning in something that would never be what i needed.
and then words became alive again to my heart. His words became alive (to me), His WORD was alive (now that my eyes were paying attention!) and active the whole time, and the expanse of vocabulary words that we have to describe the riches of His glory suddenly became like grains of sand stuck to us after a day at the beach. words, everywhere words, in my dreams, in my thoughts, in my moleskin notebooks and in red letters in an old Bible. words like grace, redemption, mercy, inheritance, finished, adopted, Abba. they wrap me up in boundless love and endless belonging. mercy is even felt right now in the typing, that i can use letters on a keyboard to say what is only felt most honestly in the deepest part of my soul.
here’s to a new season of old words, new words, difficult words and glorious words. words that cut with precision and words that open wide a field of possibilities, that inspire people to dream bigger and love better and forgive faster. here are words i have carried around for years without anything to say. here’s to saying it now.