Friday, January 25, 2013

Communication as Healing

“Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.”
-Proverbs 12:18

True to my extravert nature, I am a talker. I think out loud, I’m happiest when writing or exchanging dialogue (I don’t think any of this will be a surprise to anyone who reads this blog or knows me). I feel, I express, I have so many things on my mind I want to synthesize and share. I want to become better at saying things that matter, that make a difference- rather than a lot of fluff. Some people when they speak their words resonate with power. What makes that difference?

Right now, I want to focus however on the above verse, about how wise words bring healing. I have all sorts of things I think about this, could say about this. For now however, I am going to leave it as a meditation point. This week I am going to do my best to say less, and then when I do say something, have my words be centered on bringing healing/health to whomever I am speaking to. I am also going to watch in my life for people who are good at this- who are concise and truly giving in their sharing.
 I know many people in my life right now who are dealing with real tragedy- real tough events in their lives. With different forms of conflict, death and tragedy. Something with the month of January seems to be stirring up things for others. Tragedy has been a part of my life in the past, but is not something I am suffering from intensely now. I feel therefore it is me who needs to be rigorously active in the lives of those who need it, as others were for me in the past. I hope and pray to be able to use my words to heal and support others in their unique trials.
I would love to hear other’s thoughts on what this means to them: who do you know who often uses words as healing? Who often speaks from wisdom? Why is this an important thought/idea? How can it be better applied in our lives?
James 1:19My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry.


  1. Thanks for this post, Kelsie. We are all touched and transformed by others who come to us in the right intent, who, when we are needy of comfort, come with words of healing. For me, I think right away of four very powerful healers in my life, all whom I would describe as extremely wise, bubbly, talkative, positive individuals. They are able to laugh at most things in life, find beauty in almost any circumstance, and live their lives as an open book. They understand that life can be incredibly hard, but that does not keep them from enjoying every day and finding meaning in struggle as well as success. That last piece about living as an open book is critical for me, and has been in times when I have experienced tragedy. Through learning that we can be open books for each other, that we don't have to hide or portray some phony image, but can share our thoughts and stories and be exactly who we are freely with others has been so liberating to me, and so very powerful a challenge to stay true to. When you are truly vulnerable, no one can hurt you! The amazing power in that has changed my life in my adult years, and I try to communicate with others this way (with a lot of words as I am quite a talker!) Because I am an extrovert, I resonate more with those who are extroverted. I am likely not able to be as effective of a healer to an introvert, just as an introvert may not be as likely to resonate and heal me.
    But I grew up in an amazing family where most if not all are are introverts, and their lives and words have a lasting and powerful effect on me for the good, and have taught me so very much that resonates with me even if our styles are different. I think they would say the same about me. Again, the intent and the love is so much more important than the style.
    I think the one who is hurting can clearly sense the intent of the one who is trying to reach out and help. By being true to who we are, I think we can reach out to others and offer love and empathy and wisdom that they will appreciate. Words CAN do so much damage, far more than sticks or stones, or words can bring so much hope, and right intent is the difference maker. The style of delivery with many or few words is truly secondary. He he . . .look at my very wordy response to your post!

    I hope you are well, and am sorry so many in your life are suffering. January is my least favorite month of the year--it is a long slog of illness and it is an endurance test for me as a mom of small kids. But I know to expect it and it is what it is! Thanks for all of your thoughtful posts, I love reading them and I hope it is not too annoying that I always respond immediately and do not edit--it is the way my life works as I have limited time to do this stuff! Love to you!

  2. Kelsie, I too want to say thank you for this blog, and I find myself looking forward to it every week. It helps me to think about many issues in a focused way; so I want you to know that you are affecting many by your willingness to share your spiritual journey in this way.
    I think that being able to really listen ... to listen with the ears of your heart ... is the most healing gift that anyone can offer to someone else. Most of us don't really hear what another is expressing, because we are so busy formulating what we are thinking and are going to express. The person who can empty themselves of their own thoughts and truly listen, that person is a healer in my perception. Their words can be simple, as simple as "I love you" or "I am so sorry" - eloquence or the right wording is not as powerful as the desire and willingness to bear witness to the other person's pain and not to try to distract or trivialize the conversation by hijacking it in another direction. To be willing to let someone tell their story and to truly be an active listener ... well, that is what counselors are paid to do, and we can do this for others if we love them and care about them. In pain, we need to express and lament our loss. There are no shortcuts to healing, and in early stages of grief this is so important to be able to do. Reading the Psalms of Lament are helpful to me, always. They are raw and honest.

    The words of hope that point me to God's promises are the most helpful words that can be spoken to me by others. Now to some, that would seem like mouthing platitudes ... but to me, these are words of life and hope. "I can do all things through Christ, who gives me the strength I need" - this is my life verse, and I believe that even in the storms of life, Christ gives me the strength to trust him and hold on.

    Presence is more important than words. Sometimes a 'light touch' is best ~ a few words, a hug, an encouraging email, an invitation for a walk and coffee. I guess what I am trying to say is that the gift of presence, listening, and words of hope and kindness speak volumes. If you truly listen, the words that are right will be there, spoken from the empathy you feel.

    And in response to Erika's note, yes how much I have appreciated and learned from my extroverted daughter, who has had the courage and articulation to speak the words that are on her mind! She is also a very good listener, I might add.