Books, blogs, podcasts: I don’t seem to know my limits.
My Evernote account is a bounty of delectable quotes by writers I revere: Madeleine L’Engle, Anne Lamott, Ann Voskamp, Brene Brown, Sue Monk Kidd, Alice Munro, Dallas Willard.
And as a writer, I make a habit of stringing words together to make sense of my world. I secretly fantasize about writing words that change the world, or at least someone’s world.
But, when faced with the question, “What are the words that changed your world?” my satiated mind suddenly empties. All of this fill of words, but I can’t say that any of them actually changed my world.
(A depressing realization for this girl who worships words.)
I recently learned that words make up only 7% of our communication. (Sigh. Again, depressing for this girl…)
Maybe this is why combing through my coveted word collection in search of the ones that changed my world brings on sudden feelings of starvation. These feasts of words perfectly curated by the wisest word mavens have filled me with hope, inspiration, and perspective. They have fueled my longest, hardest journeys. They have been my guilty pleasure.
But they have not changed my world.
Because words that change worlds are probably not going to come from quotes, books, blog posts and podcasts. They are probably going to come from conversations, the paradoxical space where words take a backseat to the connection, history, feeling and bonding that constitute that 93% of communication.
In conversation, words try to prop up the big, floppy, complicated stuff of relationship. They frame our hearts and hurts. Words are the earth-tethers of the supernatural connection that happens between souls.
In my state of world-changing word starvation, I become increasingly certain that the words that have changed my world must be words sprung from the roots of relationship.
When I (begrudgingly) allow my beloved, collected words to become the dessert that follows the entrée of relationship, my starvation gives way to a healthy state of lucidity.
And I know the exact words that changed my world. But I am disappointed. I wanted my world-changing words to be surprising, profound, perspective-shifting, and brilliant.
But they are not. The words that changed my world are unassuming and elementary. They don’t come from my collection of quotes.
My husband and I are more than a decade into marriage and feel stuck in a season of growing in the wrong direction: apart. I share my deepest thoughts and fears with a friend. My words are clothed in shame and hesitation. She listens close, knowingly.
She says, “Me too.”
We seek support from older, married friends. We tell them our struggles, we show where we really are. We fight embarrassment. We fight image.
They say, “Us too.”
A guy I know tells a story about sharing his struggle with pornography with a friend. He releases his shame to the world.
His friend says, “Me too.”
A friend of mine shares her dream that has been buried deep within her. She wants to be a writer. She has no formal training; she can’t explain it logically. It’s just this thing she knows.
I listen. I know too.
I say, “Me too.”
“Me too:” The words that have changed my world.
“Me too.” An antidote to shame.
“Me too.” Two brave words that graft souls together.
“Me too.” Words that make us feel less alone. Even more, they make us feel less….weird.
“Me too.” Two little words that give hope to a struggle; two little words that give life to a dream.
When “me too” comes after “I struggle with…” and “I really want to…,” the world changes.
in your life.
Holly Pennington is a writer, mom, small business entrepreneur and physical therapist in the Seattle area, where she loves drinking hot tea in the rain, traveling by ferry and the incredible theater scene. She is learning to both receive and share the “me too’s” in her life. She blogs at http://www.dreadlocksandgoldil
(Image credit: “Roots” picture was created on WordSwag with a Pixabay photo)