Wouldn't it be interesting if we could see what we say? We would be careful about what we utter, because we would understand the gravity of our words.
Important speeches such as "I have a dream" might appear in a large, granite font that could be seen for generations. National parks could be built around them and named for the speech, such as I Have a Dream National Park.
We would enjoy the bouncing balls of humorous speech, while sad words might fall like rain. Keeping either of these types of books in a library would require constant chasing and mopping — not to mention rewriting of books that lose words due to shallow content. Deceptive words would fail to appear at all, rendering some politicians, televangelists and ad executives mute.
A compassionate word is like a warm blanket, wrapping the hearer in nurturing folds; and lullabies act as soft swings in ocean breezes.
Mundane statements such as "I'm going to the store now" would appear in a small font for less than 30 seconds.
"I love you" and "you're beautiful" could be packed into a school lunch as dessert.
Said repeatedly, love phrases could be used to fill Christmas stockings and candy dishes.
Nagging nips like little barking dogs, complaining feels like a blood draw, and childish name-calling sticks like packing tape. I think hateful words should go out like a sharp boomerang, then circle back and chop off the head of the hater.
Although words don't manifest in these ways, words do manifest. A verbally abused spouse looks tired and worn. A father's anger shows up in the schoolyard as his bully son, whereas children who are encouraged have the light of kind words in their eyes.
Within the range of every voice is a community of people in need of compassionate, caring, life-raft words. They are the checker at the grocery store, the receptionist at the doctor's office and the child standing alone on the playground.
Appreciation makes us stand taller, a humorous response strips away fatigue, and words of understanding fortify the soul. Because the average person speaks thousands of words a day, we have thousands of opportunities to show compassion to the people around us. We can build hope, rally for justice, and create safe environments for the disenfranchised, just by choosing words that encourage growth, civility and honor.
If what we say is what we see, then the opposite is also true; what we see is what we've said. Words are born in the seedbed of intentionality, and intention creates our world.
What kind of world are we building?
Susan Kay lives in Roseburg.