It is odd, really, that sometimes I need to say the words. Out loud. To hear them formed into a sentence and uttered. The crescendo and cadence and the fortissimo of the spoken words. The heat and the warmth come through, but they are not the same. We have all listened to the tenderness and the anger of words. We know the difference. We know which is the desired and which is the needed. We know.
Words that come easy, sometimes freely and in great quantity, are generally from a place of security and freedom. To tell someone the parts of your day or about the last call you had, or the fears that lay beneath and behind that which is actually spoken is a thing that is a place of exposure. Freedom and creativity are timid, and to actually arrive in the open is a very vulnerable thing. We know when it is good, and we exhale in relief when we are done.
Putting the thoughts into words, and words into flight, we are not in control of their destination or their effect. They are soon spoken; our control is then released. They are like a butterfly, really. Only moments before in the cocoon, idol and unmoving to the outside world. The thread of our thoughts wrapped around an idea that is needing to be incubated until complete. Bursting forth onto the new world of transformed life, they rest a moment to fix their wings and then they burst forth in flight and color. Fragile and yet alive, taken by the wind and the wing to places that we cannot know. We ponder things in the cocoon, in the dark recesses of our mind and what transforms is not what we see. We see form and shape and dark, until the cocoon is ready to burst. Only then do we know of the color and the life these words have become.
Become. The point of transition into something not previously there. Thoughts into words, silence into hope. Introspection into thanks. A simple acknowledgement of being, spoken to one you did not know a moment before. The giver of service and support, a bus driver or a passenger. A clerk or a client. A simple word of awareness, of being, that lands like a butterfly on your hand, like a simple glance, with a thank you attached. Words…
Words can surprise, and they can be dark. Pulling out the infection that builds up behind the oftentimes thin film of restraint. Red and swelling, the pressure builds, and the words burst forth and there is no secret anymore. The jealous outburst of betrayal, of expectations violated. Expostulations. I like that word. It is seldom used, so there is that. It sounds funny coming off of the tongue, and it is accurately specific. It is to put flight to frustration through spoken words. It gives birth to hope of remediation of the pain, or at least relief for a bit. It is the cry in the night, to the stars, if nothing else. To voice the anger of being impotent against the pain and the relentless waves crashing on the beach of my dreams. Dreams that were something other than they have turned-out to be… The parent of a child debilitated by an accident of fate. The adult child dealing with the parent that has turned angry or withdrawn by dementia. The pain of the intractable and the seemingly unfair actions of a capricious world turned dark. It is curious that the one that caught the baseball and received the accolades, did so by getting me out…
While we are all on this journey and know not what tomorrow brings, we build the cocoon with each thought and pondering unspoken. We find a friend or we “vent” to no one in particular. So, I ask this question; what of sending “hope” forward. Not to pretend that darkness is not here, but all the more within the dark forest of doubt and despair, sending forth a word that burns bright in that darkness. Real and true and visceral hope, spoken forth like a sword of truth slashing down the webs and branches that block the sun. Why is it always a surprise? CS Lewis wrote a book called “Surprised by Joy” and the idea is the same. Why is it a surprise? For my part in this I can say that it is a darkness that descends slowly rather than gets shut off like a switch. As such I get acclimated to the graying of the hope. It gets diluted somehow, until it seems rather dark indeed. As such the twinkling of awareness brings a stark contrast to the dark that is pierced by that light, and we exclaim with surprise, well perhaps.
We that enjoy the variety of the butterfly oft ignore the role of the caterpillar. Some are ignominious, and some are creatively made. So are the thoughts that build their cocoons around them for protection. Time to transform, a safe place to hide, a place to rest. Alone to process during that time. Before they become words set free. This place that the thoughts go is an unknown thing, they just go there. Waiting and waiting more. Some tales of stories are nothing more than word salads with no substance to them. Others are hearty and full of adventures and trials, of pain and struggle and scars. Given time they may come to a place of release and freedom. Other tellers of tales carry the aroma of bitter betrayal and the knowledge of the vanquished. Some had dreams of the valiant soldier and were only little more than the one that mucked out the stalls of the nobleman’s steed. In the time of battle, they were in the middle of the nothingness when overrun by the savages and mistreated on the way. Ignoble, small, impish and of no threat. Impotent against the cancer and the amputation, the addiction and the shortened reach of the arm with no grasp… where are the bold words now.
Like the others, these thoughts transform into the flight of the one that would speak. That would finally release the pain through the speaking of it. Transforming the cocoon into a former abode, a place of another story set free by the telling. To tell of that transition from restrained to released from the prison of fears. The fears of telling the tale to ourselves for then it would be true, indeed. But now it has been set free to fly in the wind. Transformed from thought to word. From prison to release. And we know.
Sometimes I need to say the words. To hear them cross my tongue as they spill out on the universe, alive somehow. Real, in some way. Mine. It is curious that once they are free to fly about, I am no longer in command. I tell you “thanks”, or “well done” and I am no longer the one that commands the effect on you. To tell a child, struggling with the lace of their shoe, good job when they are done is to release their brain from struggle to victory, and they remember your words. So too, when you are the giver of help and joy and praise. A word of hope to the one that needs it. And we all need it. And we know. Say the word, it wants to be free.
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