I have always loved words.
I suppose this passion comes from my dad, who seldom told me the definitions of words when I--as a little girl--would ask, "Dad, what does that word mean?"
"Look it up," he would say, "Look it up."
Grudgingly, I would plod over to the bookcase in the corner of the living room and heft a large dictionary into my arms. With a sigh, I'd slump onto the couch and crack the book open; always wondering if I'd ever find my word among the thousands. (A sort of "hide and seek" exercise that made me grumpy!) I remember that dictionary was a big, hardback, beast-of-a-book that fit awkwardly on my skinny legs. It was intimidating to use and I hated it.
But then, eventually and without fail, something magical would happen: I would find my word. And it was as if a door opened to me, and I could see past the barrier of my young intellect. I could see into a room of light and understanding. I could see into a world so much bigger and broader than my safe and stable four walls. That, my friends, was the tender and foundational beginning of a truth I'd come to embrace: Words have power.
Words matter. Words are powerful. The right words, the best words, and the kindest words can change the course of our day, from bad to better. Words can heal our hearts and pull us out of dark and lonely places. Words can uplift, brighten, and inspire. Words can strengthen and encourage us when defeat sits heavily on our shoulders. Words of love and encouragement can wrap themselves around a disheartened mother (me) who is worried about her autistic son, who prays for her daughter struggling socially in school...and she can find GREAT comfort in them.
I choose to surround myself with good and positive words. (Much to the chagrin of my very clean and very organized husband.) Which is to say, quotes and printables are hanging everywhere in my house. (He calls it clutter, I call it inspiration!) I have quotes on my fridge, I have quotes in my bathroom. I have quotes and affirmations on hall closet doors. When I find words that make me laugh, make me think, or uplift me, I print them out. I want to see them everyday. I want to think of them often. I want them to fill me up and make braver, better, stronger, nicer.
Print the quotes you adore. Make pretty printables of the words you love. I challenge you to put them around your home and see how they change your mood, change your day, change your life. Look them up. Print them out. Hang them up. Let them lift you up. Perhaps the visual reminders of the very best words you find will cause you to evaluate yourself, provoking you to ask: How am I using my words? What words am I using? Am I using them to praise, thank, and bless the people around me?
I didn't know then what age and experience has taught me now, but in following my dad's direction, I not only "looked it up," I "looked up" as well. I learned. I grew. I slowly and steadily (and over time) witnessed the power of language.
I fell in love with words.