Two things recently have started me thinking about the power of words. One was the recent post by Jackie about 'it only needs to be a small flame.' When I thought about that, one of the examples that struck me was the example of Aussie poet Andrew Lansdown. He is a quite openly a Christian who writes poetry that is accepted by literary magazines and Christian journals. His poetry is recognised and acclaimed by Christians and those in literary circles. I admit he is on my mind at present, as I have recently finished reviewing his poetry collection Allsorts that has been entered in the Caleb Poetry Prize which I am privileged ot be judging again this year. His faith is evident in his poems which are always a tribute to the Mighty Creator. He is a great example of a writer whose words are a beacon in our world. If you love poetry and haven't read any of his poems, I encourage you do do so.
The second was a text message I received from a friend who was in the middle of preparing a talk for Mother's Day. The text asked, 'What is the best advice you received from your mother or best advice you have given as a mum.' I answered the first part of the question with two bits I remembered from my mum. One was humorous. The other practical. My mother was a person who drew people to her as naturally as breathing. The practical one was, 'make lots of friends. Don't just make one best friend.'
I don't remember the exact context of her saying this, but suspect it could have been when my best friend moved to Queensland in my first year in high school and I was devastated. But it may well have been even much earlier than that. Because of moving house a bit, I had been to three different schools before high school and so had to make new friends quite a bit.
Not wanting to presume what advice my children had deemed valuable, if anything, I decided to text and ask. My daughter thought for a bit before her texted answer came back. 'One that comes to mind is about marriage and what to look for in a marriage partner and you said " that as no-one is perfect and everyone has faults, choose someone whose faults you can live with because you can't change them to be the person you want them to be. You marry them as they are. The other thing she remembered me saying was, 'marriage requires work. It won't just happen.'
I wondered then how different it would be if I asked my son and so off went another text message. After a while his answer came back saying, 'I can't remember any specific advice but your encouragement to follow the Lord in both words and example would be the most significant.' Needless to say, I felt good after those replies and felt somewhere along the marriage and parenting way, my husband and I must have managed to get a few things right.
So, I guess it highlighted for me the importance of words and how sometimes they can have an impact even when we may not be aware of it. That's true whether it is in marriage and parenting or in writing. Sometimes in writing, our characters can get away with giving advbice and saying what the author may not be able to say openly. That way it doesn't come across as preachy but as an intrinsic part of that character and the way they live their life and make choices. At least that's why I hop to do in my fiction so that those who are outside the church will read it and hoepfully it will make them think. Who knows whether sometime down the track those words will take root and lead them to the Saviour, especially if we seek to write what God wants and cover our writing with prayer.