Thought, Word, Deed

Do you ever play conversations over and over in your mind? Do you have those times when words that have been spoken, either to you or by you, simply will not go away?
Words are creative and they have a life of their own. Proverbs 23:7 says “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he”. So who do you think you are in your heart? This might seem like a trite question, but so much about how we interact with those around us hinges on our opinion of ourselves. Where does this opinion come from and how is it formed?
Our understanding of who we are, our significance, and perception of our destiny are formed in early childhood through the words that are spoken to us, the unspoken words, the communication through nuance and the reactions to our actions of those who are closest to us. Careless words spoken harshly at this tender stage of development can leave lasting scars and set in motion behaviours that in turn affect many people along life’s road. Or careful words spoken in such a way as to belie their true meaning.
I remember in the eighties as a journalist having to develop a way of reporting events in such a way as to get the message across without actually giving all the details. In those days detaining journalists was the national sport. One of our top reporters even developed a star chart for the various jails in the country. I was once taken in for questioning after a report I had broadcast, in “special speak” of course. I duly produced my typed report and the tape and when examined in that light, what I had said seemed all quite innocuous. The frustrated officer, who had been ordered to get me silenced at any cost, eventually exclaimed: “It’s the way that you speak English that’s the problem!”
More and more I am seeing how the impact of words spoken today can impact people many years hence. The way I was raised and how my personality developed is how I live my life. This is passed on to my children, who in turn continue the thread. We either live according to the words that formed us, or we live fighting against what was said to us. Whichever is true, people we associate with throughout our days on this planet are affected in some way by what we say and how we say it.
It doesn’t end there, either, because words are how we communicate, they are the essence of our interaction with our fellow man. Their importance, their efficacy in forming us, continues throughout our lives and so it is really important that what you hear is good, positive and edifying. It is strange but true that the negative words are the ones you continue to hear long after they have been spoken. They are the ones that seem so real, whilst the compliments and life giving words are somehow not quite credible. Another repercussion of the apple incident in that paradisal garden is man’s propensity to believe the worst of himself.
A friend of mine likes to say of women that we take our worst features and compare them to our closest friend’s best features in order to feel bad about ourselves!
The power of words, the power of opinion, and the power of the mind to interpret both is something to be very aware of. We can so easily destroy that which is meant for good, by reacting to a false understanding of what has been said. We see criticism where none is intended. We become defensive when no one is attacking us.
It is a hard lesson to learn, that of speaking only that which is positive, that which is edifying, that which brings love and peace and not disquiet and insecurity. But it is one that each one of us, me first, needs to learn!

One thought on “Thought, Word, Deed”

  1. This was very good to read, Glenda, positive and edifying too!

    I’ve been meaning to write to you.. as I’d promised.. and was thinking about it yesterday and then saw your post! You asked me how we got to be in Italy.. and I said I’d write to you about it.

    Well, to cut a long story short.. Elton and I had always dreamt of somehow living some day in Europe, so initially I tried for a couple of years (2006-2007) to find a teaching job in France, Spain, Italy or Portugal. No go.. as by then schools there were only hiring teachers already with EU citizenship.. and not even Canadians were welcome.

    Finally, things started to come together when a cousin of Elton’s, living in Italy and married to an Italian, applied for a work permit for me.. and succeeded! By then, with Stephanie (our daughter) marrying an Italian too, it was making more and more sense to be there. So, with my permit, I took off in August 2009 to put the ‘show on the road’, so to speak. So started a two-year period of Elton and me being mostly apart, or together briefly either in Italy or Swaziland, during which I taught ESL in a little school in Umbria (near Perugia where Stephanie was living) and Elton readied our house to be sold. It was hard but we felt/hoped it would be worthwhile.. In March 2011, I was due to return alone to Italy, after about three months in SD, and suddenly couldn’t do it anymore.. So for the last almost two years, we have gone back and forth together, finally moving our things last June and handing over our sold house last December. We are even here now for a couple of months, as we still have some loose ends in SA & SD.. but, for the most part, we have done it! Crazy, hey?

    To add to the craziness, Stephanie’s Italian husband felt obliged to take a promotion in his company, instead of starting his own hospitality business in Italy (which we were supposed to help with), so he and Stephanie and our two little grandsons are now living.. in Seattle! And our son, David, who studied graphic design in Florence and then tried very hard to find work in Europe.. also with a Canadian passport which wasn’t good enough.. has just recently moved to Toronto. My eldest son has already lived in Vancouver with his South African wife (now become a very proud Canadian!), for about 5 years. We are therefore most likely to divide our time between Italy and Canada for the next few years.

    We saw John in SD and I thought that he seemed very proud of you and your determination to write. He said you’d already got your children’s story done and on its way to the publishers. Well done to you! I am full of admiration.. as I said before.. and hope to join you soon in that endeavour.

    Take care and go well.. and keep in touch,
    Aude xxx
    Thanks so much,


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