Thursday, September 10, 2009

power of words

I love words, reading, writing, saying certain ones, the feel of them in my mouth, the sound of them, the poetry and cadence, words have power.

To help, to heal, to wound, to destroy. Sometimes in innocence we wield them and cut deeply only later realizing the damage we have caused. Then there are times we purposefully seek to hurt or to heal...

Today I sat and listened to a young teen pour out his heart. He told me things that had happened that had caused him to explode, to act out and to get into trouble, pretty serious trouble. Things that had happened years ago in foster care. I asked why he didn't try talking out the problem with the other party, explaining the situation, reporting his point of view to the authorities. At that point he raised his eyes to me and said to me, " I am just a kid. No one believes a kid. Adults think we always lie." Without thinking I reacted, and said, "I believe you."
We talked for awhile longer and I told him I was sorry bad things had happened to him. I agreed it wasn't fair and that frankly it sucked. He said "Well its the past, its over." I agreed but I also said it still hurts you and you can tell me about it because I am strong enough to hear it and sharing it will help make it less painful. He shrugged. We talked a bit longer and he went to class.

Later that day I got a phone call from school. He got in a fight and wanted them to call me. He had been pretty upset and had spent some time with the school psychologist. She called to tell me he had revealed that he wanted me called because "MaryMartha shows up when she says she will, she does what she says she does and she believes me..." The psychologist said she knew I worked in a thankless profession and wanted to share this with me. That this kid valued my belief in him. That I had a profound effect on him. I sat there listening amazed. I had spoken earlier without thinking, saying what was on my heart. Because I do believe him. I do believe all my kiddos when they tell me they hurt. I know they lie to me at times, and I can usually spot those times. But I can also tell when they are not lying. I can tell when they are in pain. I know when to believe them, when to believe in them. I just didn't realize the power of those words today.

I am amazed at the power of words. I need to remember that and use them wisely. I am grateful that God walks with me and gives me the right things to say. Because it isn't me. I am not that good or wise...

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