This I Believe

Fiona Siobhan - Milton, Pennsylvania
Entered on August 10, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: creativity
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I believe in the power of words

My grandmother, whenever I was troubled by the taunts of others would say

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”

Nanny was right about many things, but in this instance, she was quite wrong.

Words can certainly hurt. More than that they can maim for life

I can remember every wounding, cruel comment that has ever been winged my way,

“Stupid foreigner; I hate the Welsh, useless people. You’re lazy; you should never have been born; you’re unlovable”

Nasty words stacked up against me, like so much firewood threatening to immolate my spirit.

I also remember those well placed words that ignited a warm glow.

“You’re brilliant; you have a gorgeous voice; you’re important to me, you’re adorable.

I love you”

I spend my days as a storyteller, relating folktales and histories.

I have witnessed words linking people, connecting them with a shared experience. Bringing understanding, bringing tolerance

My Celtic ancestors believed so completely in the power of the spoken word, that they

exercised extreme caution in the presence of bards.

The bard’s job it was to keep the histories, and ensure immortality by praising great men and women.

You ignored the bard at your peril. Insult a bard, and your name might go down in history as cruel or feckless. Or worse yet, your name might be forgotten completely.

Despite the modern propensity for instant, brief meaningless fame, our deeds being remembered may yet be our only guarantee of immortality

I cannot for the life of me remember who it was who underwhelmed me with their performance in the latest “Get Your Fame Here” programme.

But I can tell you the name of the spitfire pilot my mother loved during World War II.

He may have lost his life, but his name lives on our family history.

Through one of those twists of life, my older brother Mike and I did not discover each other until we were both middle aged. After the discovery Mike would call me at least twice a week, we tried to fit in over 40 years of relationship into 7 brief seasons, we managed it!

Twice a week his first words to me were always “Hey Sister”

“Sister,” into that word was packed acceptance, a welcome, delight, a life time of brotherly love.

On Mike’s last day. I held his hand and tried to communicate my presence and my love with songs, and memories, whilst trying to hide my anguish at his too soon parting.

I used a lot of words that day.

Towards the end, Mike struggled to open his eyes and speak to me

His last words to me gave me all that I needed. Assured me of his love, and gave me the courage to once again walk without him.

“Hey Sister” he whispered.

Words are powerful

This I believe