Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sticks and Stones

It was the ultimate comeback to childhood taunts.  I can picture myself now as I chanted it; my head thrown back, my nose stuck proudly up in the air, my voice carrying every speck of authority I could muster:  "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!"...

As I grew into my teenage years, not even a suddenly changing public taste for leanness could convince me that it was okay to be the "beanpole" I'd been steadily assured I was.  Add to that the teasing I got about talking too fast, being “smart,” needing glasses (which I refused to wear), not being able to catch a ball (which I couldn’t see...), and I wound up feeling I was well below par. 
Sticks and stones had not been thrown, but youthful words had wounded.

I'm now many years past grade school, and my friends are grownups.  We don't throw sticks and stones, and of course adults never hurl wounding words at one another.

Do we.  

I have been thinking lately about what I've seen words do.  Follow me over to Suscipio for a fictional composite of situations I've observed ... and in which I'm ashamed to have participated.  May we accept the grace Our Lord holds out to us.  

May we put away our whispered sticks, our spoken stones. 

(painting Stefano Novo, The Gossips, in US public domain)