Putting it in Words

[Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey, June 24]

When we speak deep truths, something irrevocable occurs. We can’t unsay them, even if we speak them aloud to no one but ourselves. An I love you spoken and heard can transform the world well beyond the sayer and hearer. An I love you left unsaid may be deeply felt, but there’s a certain something it only gains in the saying. It may not be necessary, but it is vitally important.

The same is true for words of grief. To pick up the phone and tell someone that a beloved parent/friend/husband/wife has died is to make it real in a way it wasn’t beforehand. The words don’t change the loss, but they change it from an external reality to the heart’s own truth.

One thought on “Putting it in Words

  1. David Anderson

    Nouwen’s reversal of the Word made flesh is brilliant–it’s true for everyone, but–I am thinking–especially for writers and poets and preachers and teachers and anyone who needs to shape and deploy words in their vocation. You are one of those people.

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