Friday, October 25, 2013
I've always been a person greatly affected by words--I've cried listening to songs on the radio, worn out pages of poetry reading and reading the same passage, and been so consumed in novels that I could barely find my way out. When words are directed toward me they impact me even more. I wish I could say that I'm one of those people who don't care about what other people think or say about me, but I do care, deeply. It's a curse sometimes, but mostly a blessing. It's part of the reason I've surrounded myself with people who speak encouragement and support into my life. That's not to say that the people around me just tell me how great I am all the time--far from it--but they are truthful, even when the truth isn't easy to hear, and they are kind.
To be transparent, I've had a rough few weeks lately. Work has been frustrating on many levels, I've felt really stuck creatively, and I've just been feeling really very average in almost every area of my life. I don't know why or what caused it, but I'm in a rut or a funk or whatever you want to call it. The worst part is, I really didn't even see it happening or realize I was there until about a week ago.
A week ago, I met up with some professors that I had in undergrad and grad school--some for professional reasons, some just because I saw them wandering Hill Hall and wanted to catch up. I chatted with all of them for at least half an hour, and I was struck first by how much I felt like a colleague rather than a student--not sure when that change happened, but it was incredibly strange. We talked about therapy, licensure, music, and childhood stories. The second thing that was striking was just how genuinely encouraging they were, without even meaning to be. One asked my opinion as an "artsy, creative type" (um, what?), another asked me to submit a CV to teach a class in his area of expertise, and another mentioned that he has always been impressed with my "natural professionalism." I'm not relaying all their compliments to toot my own horn, but to illustrate this: I'm still thinking about their words a week later. Honestly, I'll probably be thinking about their words for much longer than that.
I walked around the rest of the day feeling incredibly efficacious and proud. Life seemed a little brighter, and I felt a burst of creativity. I remembered what it felt like to really believe in my abilities and to know I'm good at what I do. All of that--from words. Nothing but words from people whose opinions I respect. That's it. The Bible says that the tongue holds the power of life and death, and I've never seen that so clearly as I did last Friday. I wonder how often I've been careless with my words, and how many opportunities I've had to breathe life into someone that I've let slip by. So this week, I'm making it a point to speak true, life-giving words to the people around me, and I encourage you to do the same. You never know how long they'll be thinking about it.