Today is Thursday. Today, I baked for some older people so they could enjoy a sweet treat. Today, I was graciously asked to join a radio show to help promote raising funds for a young man who is incarcerated and needs a good defense lawyer. Today, I heard some disparaging remarks about some people I adore and it prompted me to write this.
She stood weeping over what once was a beautiful and enchanted forest that seemed endless; a forest of mighty sentries that housed and protected creatures great and small. Instead of magnificent giants stretching their limbs toward the vast sky, the trees were nothing more than blackened and smoldering stumps and even more unsightly, the charred remains of raccoon, squirrels and deer that never made it out alive.
“Arson,” the fire fighter said, his face smeared with black ash.
She wiped her nose on her sleeve and with a quivering voice asked, “And the camp up the road?”
He shook his head in disgust. “Gone. The entire thing is gone.”
Her heart cracked inside her chest and the tears fell like rain.
Did you ever think about the words you say to another human being? Do you ever assess the damage after you have ripped a person up one side and down the other? Oh, you may have felt justified in doing so. Maybe you didn’t scream or shout, maybe you threw something back in a person’s face just because you felt the need to get even. Maybe you labelled a person with a demeaning or disgusting tag whether it was true or not. Maybe something happened a long time ago, but you never gave the person who “pissed you off” the chance to change or make it up to you. Maybe you disagree with someone’s choice, decision or thoughts. Unless someone is going to die, why waste energy creating a fire.
A tongue is like a match. Just a few disparaging remarks, a few lies, a few rants with a few smears and labels can not only take out the person it is directed at but also those who are close to them: collateral damage. Discouragement, anger, grief, revenge can be the unfortunate smoldering embers of this conflagration.
Don’t be an arsonist. Your words can instruct, build up, correct, encourage, soothe and save. They can also wound, burn and destroy. We need each other in this battle. We may not see eye to eye and that is okay. We need to get out of the past hurts and move forward in solidarity.