As a writer, as someone who likes to think of herself as a wordsmith, I can sometimes be obsessed by them. I have been told I am verbose. My word actually. I am sure that comes from the vast quantity of books that I devour on a regular basis. Most people just describe me as chatty.
I hate the name Kathy. Don’t ever call me that. Please.
So despite the moniker, I do know the time and place to listen. People need to vent sometimes, without fear of reprisal. They just need to get stuff, that proverbial shit, off their chest. Often in a safe and confined space. Sometimes words need to be shared though. Sometimes thoughts need to be put on the table and made plain to all. Communication; the process of speaking and listening, as I am very well aware, is essential to the harmony of all.
Anyway, I got to play ringleader to some words that had been bottled up this week. Believe it or not, in this particular incident it wasn’t even about me. I got to sit back and listen to someone’s tale of woe, then got to listen to another party’s version of it. My job was not to cast stones, but remind both parties of what was at stake in this stalemate of words – their relationship.
Yes, words can be spoken in the heat of the moment in anger and spite. They can be harsh and ugly, and in their very venomousness, impossible to take back. Those words might have a place in communication, but more often than not, they cause a breakdown of it. Angry words hurt most people involved, including the one who speaks them.
Once those fierce words are out there, it can be hard to move beyond them. The very spirit in which they are spoken supersedes any manner of understanding. The words themselves are lost and only the rancour that they caused is left behind. Ugly words might as well be a hundred miles high for the ability to overcome the power of them.
This week I had the challenge of delicately taking angry words that had caused a rift between two people and trying to soften them. I know that I cannot erase them or the hurt that lies beneath them. It is not within my power. What I attempted was more along the lines of trying to soften the blows. I looked at the bigger picture and the roads that potentially lay ahead.
One was the perpetuity of resentfulness and guarded relations. The other was the trickier path of forgiveness. From both parties. Of saying real sorry’s that would reopen the door to communication again. I tried to point out the fact that both parties were still at the table, albeit hesitantly, but that alone was enough to make the effort. I was not one to judge. The outcome affected me, therefore my impartiality was key.
That being said, I do care about the outcome.
So Ms Chatty Kathy got to play with words this week in a purposeful and careful way. I talked a lot. But I was asked to. And just maybe I have started a healing process that I long to see.
Perhaps the spirit of Christmas that is beginning to sparkle in the air will help along the power of words that have begun again. I am hoping for a Christmas miracle.