Like the sun
“They can be like the sun, words. They can do for the heart what light can for a field.”
― San Juan de la Cruz (St. John of the Cross)
Two years ago I planted a couple of Asiatic lilies in front of our Alexandria porch. I read that they could tolerate partial shade, so I thought the dappled afternoon exposure would be perfect for them. But they clearly have other ideas.
See how they lean in toward the brightest area of sunlight? I wondered whether this might be caused at least partly by the weight of the huge flower at the end of the slender stem, but a bulb from the same lot that I planted in bright sunshine at our York home has no such tendencies. It stands straight and tall. These flowers simply long for the sun, and grow accordingly.
I thought of that when I read San Juan’s thoughts about the power of words. Language is a powerful thing, and how carelessly we use it! Yet what beautiful things we might accomplish with words, if we understood their lingering ability to infiltrate the heart and soul. Words can crush, damage, hurt, anger, ruin. But they also can heal, bless and shine like the sun into the darkness of sorrow and loneliness.
Here’s a video I love, in which Dr. Maya Angelou eloquently reminds us that words are things, and have lasting and profound influence, not only on those who hear them, but perhaps more so on those who say them. I especially like what she says at the close of this clip. I invite you to watch this brief gem of wisdom, and join me in resolving anew to be mindful of the formidable power of our words.