It’s Only Words
by Sue Duffield
What is it about turning fifty plus, when all of a sudden words escape you, and you find yourself mixing metaphors, mispronouncing words, and saying stupid stuff? I sometimes sound like Aunt Clara from Bewitched: “Duh, um, ah, uh… mmm…!” For goodness sake, words are my living and that’s probably what makes it even more funny!
I had just washed my hair, towel dried it and let it go, curly as ever. I hadn’t done that since the camping days. My husband said, “Wow – new hairdo?” Now, he knows better, but to clarify the situation, I candidly responded, “Oh, honey, you know it always looks like this when I step out of the washer.” No one moved or said a word. All that begged to be asked was, “Was it a top-loader or a front-loader, ya think?”
It doesn’t end there. One time when bugs and mosquitoes were destroying a family cookout, our college-educated daughter – who deems herself the “word police,” – said, “Mom, you know what we need? One of those salmonella candles.” Again, no one moved or said a word, but we erupted into laughter! Our daughter quietly added, “That wasn’t right, was it, mom?” No, it surely wasn’t right; she meant to say “citronella.” But maybe she was on to something. We’ll just burn the salmonella candle and then we won’t have to worry about cooking the chicken all the way through!
1 Corinthians 2:3 says, “…and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it” (The Message). Believe me, words may be mumbled and jumbled, but it sure is a thrill when the message comes through anyway, in spite of our foolish talk and mixed up words!
The next day my friend told me her husband went to Costco, and at one of the kiosks where samples are offered, a woman said, “Try this – it’s high in antioxygens.”
Then my neighbor’s little boy, when quizzed about what he learned in Sunday School, responded “Jesus swept.” Therefore, let us “sweep” too!
Suggestions for when you are flummoxed in your speech:
1.When you don’t know quite what to say, pause, take a breath, and keep this Scripture in mind (One of my favorites!): “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19).
2.Be amazed that, in spite of your lack of words or fluid vernacular, God can still be glorified! His words are better anyhow! Jeremiah 1:9 says, “Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘Now, I have put my words in your mouth.’”
3. Celebrate the joy of laughing at yourself! There’s nothing quite like the joy and healing power of laughter over mispronounced words. Language is a funny tool; it’s only words! And you’ll make a memory that will last a lifetime, celebrating those moments when you fumble!
SUE DUFFIELD is a heart-warming and honest storyteller, singer/songwriter and free-lance writer who travels extensively sharing her faith, music, and comic relief. She and her husband of 35 years, Jeff, travel in and out of the country doing retreats, conferences and special events. Visit her Web site.