Jan 24, 2009

Musings on Words

by Cindy R. Williams

Words are just words. The number of words seem to be never ending. Each word has numerous meanings, and there are a myriad of combinations that change their meanings. How we arrange them can be magic, or tragic.

An individual word or name can create different emotions in each of us based upon our experiences. Take the name Scott. I had a boyfriend once named Scott. At the time I thought Scott was the most wonderful name for a boy. After he fizzled, and fizzled he did, the mere mention of the name brought anguish, sadness, loneliness, confusion and feelings of betrayal. So many emotions for just one single word, Scott. Now years later, I still don't like the name. It has become tainted by my emotions. Yet, Scott is just a word, a simple five letters. How strange that it can bring up so many emotions.

Take another word, love. Love is simple yet complex word. Simple because pure, unconditional love is clean with no strings attached. Complex because when you love, the love you feel depends on who you are and who you love. I love my Heavenly Parents and Savior. I consider this love, pure light. I love my husband as my eternal companion, this love is strong and bright. As the mother of five children, I love each child unconditionally, although in my mind the love for each is a different shade. I love my parents, my siblings, my extended family, my friends, neighbors, ward members---the list goes on. Yet, although I love them all, again, I see different colors. I keep different people in different circles of my life, some close, some not close, for the necessity of survival. Love is an amazing all encompassing word, and if I try to quantify it, I find it illusive.

Combinations of words can be fascinating. Rhyming poems can be incredibly clever, droll, witty, esoteric, abstract, deep, wise, funny, silly, sad, the list goes on as long as you can imagine.

The way we combine words to illustrate our stories and emotions can be learned, but how much richer if we are able to label our emotions from our heart and speak our true feelings. The saying, "A picture paints a thousand words" is the opposite of what I strive for. I long to use words, sometimes a thousand and sometimes a tight few to paint the picture.

How we arrange these words can lead us down a long and lonely winding path, or up to the highest and happiest peaks in life. Words---just words, but how you and I use them makes all the difference.


  1. Thanks for the thoughts on words. The possibilities are infinite, just like music.

  2. What a thought provoking essay, Cindy! So why do we put ourselves through the (sometimes) torture of writing a thousand words to paint a verbal picture? Maybe because we know it's more fun to curl up at night with a book filled with "take me away from the world for awhile" words, than with a drawing or painting, no matter how beautifully rendered. :-)

  3. Yes Cindy words are in themselves pretty fascinating. I used to pull out the dictionary and just read it because the words seemed so interesting.

  4. Great thoughts on words, Cindy. I had to laugh. My first crush was on a boy named Scott. How funny! Years later, in another state, I found out a good friend had once been engaged to that same Scott. Long story how we made that connection...but words took us there.

    Linda Whiting had a gift with words. She could say so much with so few words in her poetry. I always admire that gift.

    I am always humbled by the power of words...for good or bad. I am very grateful for the words in the scriptures. Thanks for sharing those thought-provoking words!


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