Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lexical Landscapes: How we paint our worlds

"There are many things, in an unknown place, that you won't know how to look for, shapes you won't recognize, movement you won't understand. Learning the language of a landscape is the way we come to inhabit our world."



I'm using words right now to convey my thoughts to you. I realize that "duh" is probably the first thing that came to your mind, but that was just a prime opportunity demonstrating how saturated with words our worlds are. Even when I'm thinking to myself, i'm thinking in the form of words. When you're annoyed and yelling at someone internally, when you're admiring how beautiful someone is, when you're going through to-do lists in your mind, reading road signs, writing letters, receiving text messages, apologizing, saying "hey"--you're interacting with words. There's no escaping them!

We've heard that a man (or a woman) is only as good as his word. In some ways, I feel as though we've veered off from this and adopted the notion that words are fleeting, so it doesn't really matter how or where we invest our use of them. Typical language today consists of sentences strung together by the choice adhesive of the F-bomb or something of that nature. I'm not necessarily condoning or condemning --i'm just simply saying that we have come to a place in our society where we choose lackluster words to paint our landscapes. We forget the power that is connected to our words and have settled for much less than what we were intended to experience. 

Words can hurt or harm, but they are also incredible catalysts for love and life. It's ultimately a matter of volition and surrender that allows us to bless others rather than curse them with the words that come out of our mouths. In order to use words that give life, we often times have to get over ourselves. For example, saying "I'm sorry" and really meaning it requires us to embrace a posture of humility; saying "I love you" can require sacrifice; and calling someone out requires us to acknowledge that love isn't always comfortable. 

Words aren't just the things that come out of our mouths. They are the very thoughts and complexities that find their very roots in our spirits and manifest in different forms. The charge here is that we take with open arms the gift we've been given rather than sowing seeds of death and destruction. It could be as simple as saying, "Hello." It could be as powerful as saying, "I forgive you."

I could say so much more. Though, I feel as though i'm already rambling. I do want to bring everything full circle with this: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." It's no surprise that we can't escape words. If we as human beings are made in the very image of the Most High God, than our very tapestry consists of words (the Word). Having the Living Word in us is proof that we were created to be vessels that cultivate love and life, that encourage, that spur on, and live in such a way that His Word is evident to those around us. 

I know I need to be reminded of this constantly, but I also realize that it's insanely humbling to know what kind of power we've been given to love (What better way to inhabit the world, right?) :). 




2 comments:

Brandon Stiver said...

I really like this Liz. Two thoughts...

I think that one of the reasons people don't use more meaningful words is lack of truly descriptive vocabulary. This stems from the fact that many Americans have become functionally illiterate. They can read, but they choose not to or choose to read things of little depth that just perpetuate the lesser descriptive vocabulary.

Two, bringing it back to John 1 was sweet and its interesting to think that in the original Hebrew, as is the case in the Genesis account, saying and doing are the same word; there's no differentiation between them. In that sense, you really are as good as your word and God's creative action was very good!

E[liz]abeth Pham said...

Yes, great points, Brandon!

I especially like the second thought--amen.
I hope you're well--and experiencing the Father's love as you are doing the same for those kiddos over there :).