“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Monday, 28 October 2013

Drunk on words

"I find it very easy to get drunk on words", to quote Lord Peter Wimsey, Dorothy L. Sayers' detective hero. So one of my favourite Facebook pages is The Liberal Lectionary, a Canadian page maintained by Rev. Stefan Jonasson, a Unitarian Universalist minister and historian, which posts "words of inspiration for common worship and personal devotion from the liberal religious traditions." Very often, the words he posts will resonate with me strongly, perhaps even giving me an idea for a blogpost or a service. Here is one he posted last week:

The Liberal Lectionary's logo

"We have all known persons to whom the rich intimacies of nature come best through the sense of smell. They love intensely the various enticing odors of the country. The woods after a rain; the newly cut hay; the freshly ploughed field; the aromatic tides from sweet-fern; the perfume of wayside flowers; the faint sniff... of burning leaves; the whiff from salt marshes; the deliciously indescribable fragrance from apples in a room; all these experiences and many more, beget a rare delight. To these olfactory devotees nature is a glorified, universal, broadcasting station from which is sent forth, wave after wave, yes, volley after volley, of delicious odors, perfumes and aromas." — Frank Wright Pratt (born October 23, 1866)

For me, this was a quotation to roll around my mouth, savouring and tasting it. (maybe I'm a taste person, rather than a smell person!). But I find well-crafted quotations and poetry - particularly poetry - so deeply satisfying, it is almost beyond describing.

I have blogged before about the power of words. And I still stand by what I wrote then: "Words have so much power, especially in conjunction with the human voice. They can be used to encourage, sustain, energise and uplift; or they can be used to arouse hatred, bitterness, despair and all other kinds of bad feelings. ...  With one word of praise or blame, one human being can build another one up, or fling him or her into the pit of despair. The human memory has an uncanny knack of remembering words spoken in anger or despite, which can cause people with fragile self-esteem (that is to say, all of us, deep down) to think badly of themselves; whereas words of praise may be shrugged off. ... Words have so much power. We all have the responsibility to use them wisely and well."

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