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Words Matter

Revisiting a year no one could have imagined and contemplating things completely unexpected, I find the world presently in a past somehow forgotten. Squandered in the vernacular of an obsolete time, it is difficult to articulate what is new and what is old.


2020 has been an ongoing demonstration of all things iniquitous. The abhorrence seeping into the crevices, cloaking everything in its darkness, while the insidious turmoil pervading our lives leaves us gasping for oxygen in a world without air.


Abruptly uprooted, lives are rearranged as the masses flail about searching for a life raft, unaware we were never drowning in the first place. Storms come and go, after all its the only way for life to push itself forward and further from the shores of sameness.


Standing on the beach may be the perfect backdrop for partaking in colorful beverages adorned with umbrellas, but it quickly becomes indolent as our idle spirits crave the unknown beyond the horizon. Imbalance crashing upon the rocky coast, the world searches for the beacon in a darkness it never saw coming. In the cacophony of chaos, purpose is often lost in translation. The mightiest of all weapons, dialogue becomes the penetrating fusillade, cutting the hardest of stones and melting the softest of hearts.


Though few things can reach beyond turmoil and unrest, it is our words that travel the furthest. Across the globe, mankind wrapped itself in the banners of righteousness, demanding justice, the call to arms and claims of superiority echoing forth the long simmering animosity generated through our ancestors and passed on as though part of our DNA.


Through our ability to express thoughts and ideals, language can become the catalyst to affect change or the keepers of stagnation. Philosophers once walked upon the land, stringing together manifestations of wisdom, imparting ideologies and explanations of the unanswered questions enveloping the universe. Feeding the hunger inside each of us to make sense of the unexplainable.


I suspect their contributions were not appreciated until long after their stories ended. From the tongue of Socrates, to Voltaire and Diogenes, it is clear people turned a silenced ear toward the truths they did not wish to hear. Basking in a self-imposed ignorance, humans throughout history gravitate near the hamster wheel. Predictability chosen over fear, the longing for improvement cast aside in favor of placation.


Advancements in technology rapidly feed false narratives, confusing the masses, and leaving truth behind, lying in a heap at the foot of a dumpster we call the internet. The world literally at our fingertips, words became the accomplice in the dumbing down of a society previously hungry for knowledge.


Whether it is wise words, words of comfort, or words to live by, we often find ourselves seeking retribution, explanations, and absolution. Politics to religion, life's many mysteries drum loudly in each of us. From a long walk to purgatory, to a difficult climb to heaven, we lean on prose to ease our discontentment.


The dichotomy of values and morals crowding the airwaves, leaving the very essence of what it means to be human in the middle of a revolution between troglodyte and millennial. Sacrificing truth and lies equally to the hyperbole of the day.


Standing alongside our convictions, rising against the social media machine of false information, we found the words to bring us together while apart. A trying and bizarre year on a multitude of levels, 2020 found inspiration in surprising and unusual ways.


Watching speech equally build up and tear down a society, it was redundantly clear that what we say matters. The volley of political correctness against basic kindness set the stage for a long overdue intermission. The entire world forced into a simultaneous timeout; reflection could no longer be avoided.


The upheaval and torment loudly broadcast in every medium possible, words alone could not deter the longing for equality nor the ideology of freedom's existence. The reverberation of the loudest voices in the room could not break the spirit of the human need to be with humans.


Through the fog of divisiveness, and the solitude of isolation we sought togetherness. Creativity pouring into the heartbeat of the living, progress infiltrating our veins, we became experts at Zoom and video chat apps, devouring them like the nectar of life. Streaming concerts, movies, talk show interviews and Tik Tok content, we found joy and laughter cracking open the night.


Homeschool fails and victories led to long overdue appreciation for the teachers raising our children. Job loss and boredom led to new innovations and entrepreneurship. Single-minded survival fell away to unprecedented gratitude for the frontline workers willingly sacrificing everything for strangers. Hoarding basic necessities no longer vital as the term 'essential' shifted our realities.


Our families, neighbors, and our planet became points of deliberation as we each considered what was truly important. Suddenly acutely aware of the mass waste and disposability around us, we became a collaboration of revisionist. Learning and relearning to take only what we need and leave the rest.


Lifting us out of perdition, our generosity and humanity will again lead us to the resurrection as we mend friendships and familial ties. Moving the world forward steadily, our resilience will take precedence over battles fought and never won. Holding tight to hope's hand we search for common ground in a shared unprecedented loss.


Regardless of the presumed rhetoric, humans will always be more alike than different. We will inevitably rise from the proverbial ashes and set upon a pristine path of righteousness. Coated in a semblance of the familiar, we will again prompt history to repeat itself while proclaiming it all fresh and new.


Standing on the cusp of tomorrow, marinating in yesterday, we continue to do the same things over and over, all the while expecting a different outcome. Humans become the hamster as time writes a history, we will one day erase, declaring its many falsehoods to hide our shame.


In this time of contemplation may we strive for compassion over cruelty and love over hate. Mindful of their impact, may we choose our words carefully. Commencing upon the coming year, may we find gentleness in our reflection and thoughtfulness in our humanity. Benevolent in our mercy and generous in our understanding, may we each walk with grace by our side, goodness in our intentions, and decency in our hearts.


As 2020 comes to a close and the dust of dissent settles, may we use our words to rejoice in our freedoms, protect one another, and implement the promise of brighter days along this ever winding road.

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