I have been in love with words since I was a little girl who faithfully watched that old classic television show, The Waltons. Each episode ended with John-Boy sitting at the desk writing late into the night – trying to make sense of the day’s events and somehow trying to bring meaning to it all with words. As the lights in the house diminished one by one, and only the Divine was left awake, his words willed a better day for the morrow.
I have loved words all my life. The way they feel when I draw them in cursive with a fountain pen on a clean, creamy sheet of paper. The way the appear on the computer screen – effortlessly materializing from simple key strokes into something which can be shared later in black and white. Or be destroyed by a simple touch of the delete button that render those words mute, null and void forever.
I love the way they jump up from pages of books – so excited when they are opened to be read. And when the light of the Kindle parts some of the darkness on a sleepy night and words help rock me gently back to sleep.
I love the way they are crafted hopefully on white sandy beaches with the side of a broken shell broadcasting that Billy loves Carol – bragging with mock self assurance that yet is fearful the great ocean waves will drown those words literally in its frothy mouth and send them to a watery end.
I have loved words as far back as I can remember. Growing up in Eastern North Carolina, I spent hours trying to emulate Daddy’s beautiful handwriting. Extracting a small twig from one of the many white pines around our house, I would carefully write his name in the sandy soil over and over again – working hard to achieve his beautiful artistry. J-A-M-E-S. James with a curly looped “J” at the top and bottom and ending with an “S” with that same loop at the top. His letters were slanted just so and commanded an impeccable penmanship – that sadly passed years later when Parkinson’s Disease shook his sweet hand.
I love the way words paint the world. The way they educate, incite, describe, emote, inspire, motivate, provoke and challenge our lives. The way they draw and sustain our days. The way they call us to action. The way they hold us like hostages to the next syllable in the great mystery that is our lives. They way they offer hope that just around the next corner, they will finally, laboriously, get to the point and show us the meaning of our lonely and confusing lives.
Words – the way they string together – the way they make music, make love, deliver song, keep the righteous battle going, celebrate the Spirit, at times crush the Spirit, make the Word whole again and yet, oftentimes, fail in that attempt.
But most of all I love words when the words do not come from me at all.
When I am typing, laboriously, painstakingly, searching for right expression, and somehow out of nowhere, my fingers cease belonging to me, my mind becomes lucid and without a thought, and incredible words appear through a Power beyond me. It is like being one with the Divine.
Like in yoga, when we take in a great, long, nourishing breath and then just a bit more and then we hold it – at that very spot where the Divine lives – and then the breath and Spirit tumbles out and we realize that for just a second we were a part of that great Divine. Not the Divine who is like the whole ocean – but a drop of that Great Ocean where my small voice masquerades as something much greater. Namaste.