Sunday, March 6, 2011
The power of words. We use them to communicate meanings, emotion, thoughts, ideas. To express ourselves. To prove our ability to be witty, funny, touching, empathetic, superior. To show someone we think like they do. Or differently than they do. To prove any point we want to make, we use words.
This month the prompt has been for me to use one word each day to blog with. I considered that an easy challenge, because I could pick any word. And I have lots of words floating around in my brain at any given point of the day. So I took off, and posted each day this month, and preened with each positive comment I got. I was a master of words, someone who could express myself any way I chose to, and arrogantly I began to think that I was superior in my verbage.
Until today. I reconnected with an old online friend. Someone in Sweden I had long ago learned to admire as he showed me how to connect with people on this thing called the internet, how to share files and master the chat/file sharing program we were using. We chatted in large groups, all of us from many countries trying to connect through text.
I hadn't talked to him in several years. He was still on my list, but like many people we had gone in different directions. Then I found him on Facebook, and a few weeks ago wished him a happy birthday.
Today he said hi. A simple word. And then told me that he had a stroke several weeks back. And as we chatted, he told me in broken text that it had affected his memory, and his left side.
I was dismayed. A major stroke, something that will take a long time to recover from, with hours of therapy involved. As I sat there in shock, I noticed many of his words made no sense, and he took minutes to type a simple three or four words. Saddened, I tried to figure out what he was saying. His English is excellent, but I could see he was struggling to find the words, put them together in a sentence and type that in.
I was hit by so many emotions and thoughts at the same time, as I sat there trying to communicate with him.
And I realized.
The words I so easily toss around on this blog, he worked hard to find and type to me.
The words I take for granted every day, he is relearning.
The words I think prove my superiority, he lost in seconds.
We sat and slowly chatted. I began to understand him better. He reverted to Swedish at one point and I laughed and told him that I still didn't speak Swedish. And when all else failed, he spoke to me in the universal language. Smileys. We used a lot of those.
And I realized how precious life is. How grateful I am he survived. What a blessing it was to find him again, and speak to him. How humbled I was by each word he typed.
Welcome back Bjorn. Thank you for the words.