Words hold power.
April showers? Umm. more like a hurricane…
At the end of April, my world turned upside-down. Unkind, angry words from someone I once admired, ripped me to pieces. His tirade made me question EVERYTHING in my world, and it took some time for me to examine the aftermath of his fallout.
Life was put on hold as I struggled through each day. Thankfully, work kept me distracted since the last month of school tends to be the busiest time of year for a teacher. But once summer arrived, I couldn’t shake the overwhelming heartache of this situation. He made me question myself, and I allowed doubts to creep in about every aspect of life: work, friendships, life.
I lost pleasure in the little things that life had to offer. I stopped walking the dogs while trying to rationalize all the extra hours I was throwing into my job. My blog was put on hold. Writing and research lost all its excitement since my brain focused on all the ugliness of one episode in late April. But even on the rare occasions that I tried pecking away on my keyboard, my laptop also conspired against me, and I could not save my work. At that point, I decided to wait until June arrived to try and salvage my wounded pride and hurting heart and the missing pieces of my world.
On the first day of summer break, I continued to work. After all, lesson plans required updating, and new ones would be circling the drain if I didn’t get busy. I continued to ignore everything else, so I wouldn’t be reminded of April’s disaster.
But today it has been one week since school ended for summer, and I decided it was time to face the fallout. First, I wasn’t the only person he verbally attacked. Shocked and horrified colleagues united as we discovered more than one had been on the receiving end of his cruel words. But why, I wondered, do we tend to take the ugly and internalize the pain, but forget to dwell on the positive?
During this same time, I also had some great experiences. My oldest grandson graduated from high school. Time spent with family at a nearby ranch was so amazing and a sweet break from the gloom. I had teaching friends that gathered around me and uplifted while I felt wounded and worthless. Students and their families blessed me with sweet words and gifts, and their kindness reminded me of the joys of teaching. Even my pups sensed something was wrong with their human mama and stayed extra close.
So why did I allow one misguided and angry individual cloud my judgment? Finally, it dawned on me, and as a writer, I should know this by now. Words hold power. They can destroy or uplift, condemn, or encourage. Words can bring joy and laughter or create doubt and discomfort. The teacher was reminded that first, carefully choose your words, and second, thoughtfully select the words that you will allow to feed your spirit.