The power of life or death is in the tongue.- Proverbs 18:21
A man walked into my office recently and saw a picture of my wife and me on my desk. He picked it up, looked at her, looked at me, looked back at her, then looked at me and said, “Good Lord, man, is she blind? How did you find such a beautiful woman?” He’s not the first to react that way.
My wife is a hottie. She is drop dead gorgeous, stunningly brilliant, more fun than a Tilt-O-Whirl at the State Fair, very successful in her career, and is better at most things than me. But that’s not why I married her.
I married her for her words. The words that tumble from her lips find their way into the secret places of my heart and give me courage, strength, and healing. At our wedding, I wrote a song for her called, “Come Fly With Me.” Here is one phrase:
“With gentle words, your lips caress
And softly heal all my brokenness
Like a cool drink, in the desert dry,
You quench my thirst and I’m satisfied.”
We’ve all heard, and perhaps repeated the lie, “Sticks and stones will break my bones and words will never hurt me.” We know words hurt; but words also heal.
Solomon said the power of life or death was in the tongue. Surely he meant the pen and laptop as well.
Here are 3 ways in which I use writing for medicinal purposes.
I started writing first as a way of healing others. As a minister for two decades, I wrote hundreds of eulogies and messages of encouragement. A lady who lost an adult son years ago recently told me that when she finds her grief too painful, she takes out the eulogy I wrote for him and finds peace in the words I wrote for him.
Do you know someone hurting right now? You have the power to heal their wounds. What if you took some time to pour a bit of good medicine into an email or an actual hand-written letter? You’ll be surprised at the response you get from them. Especially for those in deep grief, a handwritten note or email is like a gentle rain on drought-stricken land of their heart. Try it, please, and then report back- I’d love to share your story if it is appropriate. You could literally bring sunshine to a very darkened soul with five minutes of words.
Healing a situation
I learned from a friend who is a filmmaker in California the power of context. Giving people a different way to look at a situation is providing them a context. Imagine a friend you know who is going through a major life crisis. What if you gave them the ability to look at it from a different perspective? Take them five years down the road and help them look back at this time and ask them how this made them a stronger person?
My faith is very important to me. The stories of others who give me faith do so because they filter their circumstances in context of a grander scheme. Faith surrounds the present with the context of the eternal. Writing, for me, helps me fill my circumstances and my life’s plan with meaning and purpose.
Healing my own wounds
I’ve been nicked a time or two by the sharp scalpel of ill-intended words. What is worse, though, are self-inflicted wounds where I said things to myself about myself that were hurtful and untrue. Sometimes, I am not only my own worst enemy; I am my only enemy.
It seems the older I get, the more trips to the medicine cabinet I make. Only my medicine doesn’t come in childproof caps or eyedroppers full of gag-me liquid. Instead, my medicine cabinet has the soft glow of a Macbook casting shadows on a keyboard or a moleskin journal with a pen tucked in the cover. Writing makes pain redemptive; it gives me the ability to take control of the story and write a good ending.
Writing is good for what ails me.