I have to admit that as a writer, I have a fascination with words. It’s difficult not to be when my very livelihood depends on words. I like to learn new words and I even have a book solely dedicated to all sorts of quotes I’ve heard or read about.
But it’s not simply the fact that there are so many words in the world that intrigues me. It’s not because new words are constantly being invented (try telling your grandmother to “google” something. Chances are, all you’ll get is a blank stare), or the fact that old words take on new meanings as time goes by (it used to only refer to one’s mood when you say someone is gay). And it certainly isn’t that you have a completely different set of words, pronunciations and meanings when you learn a new language.
Words are beautiful because of that. But words are much more than that.
The thing is, words are immensely powerful. Words are what make ideas, thoughts and even things become reality.
When nineties boyband Boyzone covered the famous song first performed by the Bee Gees, singing that “It’s only words, and words are all I have to take your heart away,” they’re probably using what was the most powerful weapon they possessed.
It’s never “only words”.
Think about it. What do you use to express your thoughts? How do you let someone know how you feel? Would you be able to convince your lecturer that you had indeed written an essay if you handed up several blank pieces of paper?
Words are extremely essential especially in modern day communication. Would I even be able to convey what I’m trying to say in this article without words? How else would I be able to present an idea to someone if I did not use words? I guess I could gesticulate wildly, but would you get exactly what I mean if I did not use the precise words that would so aptly say “the problem with him is that he had an extremely traumatic childhood experience with Madagascan lemurs”.
It’s amazing what words can do. Sometimes, we are afraid to say things because by even uttering a single word, we could be committing ourselves to waking up at 5 a.m. to volunteer for an event involving looking after thousands of screaming kids.
How many times have you given someone “your word”, or vehemently protested “I did not say that”?
What we say has an impact on the world around us. Without words, learning is next to impossible and secrets may very well forever remain hidden. Think of all the great quotes in the world, and even your favourite sayings and novels. Would they even exist to encourage and inspire if it weren’t for words?
What though the radiance which once so brightWilliam Wordsworth’s Ode to the Intimations of Immortality is a beautiful poem that personally encourages me whenever I have to deal with the painful loss from death.
Be now forever taken from my sight
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind
George Bernard Shaw, on the other hand, challenged me to stop complaining and make a difference in the world when he said, “people are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.”
And perhaps the book that consists of a whole bunch of words that has the most profound impact for me is of course, the Bible. God’s very own words to us. And in the very words of the Bible, it says in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Not just any word, but the Word.
The original Word that brings with it a means of communication, encouragement, inspiration and transforming even thoughts into reality.
The power. The strength.
The beginning and the end.
The Alpha and the Omega.