Somehow, I have always liked to communicate in writing so a note or a letter would be preferable to a face to face conversation at first, especially because I was so shy and still am. I eventually warm up to people so much that they have no idea how shy I really am, but writing has always been a fortress. That explains why I love blank cards and savour the freedom to fill them up with words that truly express me. I love scented note paper and the joy of receiving yet another letter in the mail and knowing who it was from just by the writing on the envelope always left me ecstatic. As I write, I can imagine myself curling up in my bed to read the letters and responding right away when I could, imagining the journey of the letter to its destination. The contents of those letters were often were burnt in my heart for as long as my memory served and where I needed a refill, I would just reach out to where I had them stowed away and go through them now and again when I needed some encouragement or just needed to remember that someone cared. That’s the power of words.
Then came along emails and I evolved, I missed letters though, still do. I got accustomed to emails, oh yes, and the intrigues of it all. I loved and still love ‘You’ve got mail’ starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. And then we started instant messaging and we kept evolving, a little more intrusive at a time, and photos became involved as we embraced Facebook, then Twitter, then Youtube, the Blackberry Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Plus, Tumblr and then Instagram . Over time, messages became shorter, less appreciated and sometimes quite a bother. Truly amazing!!! And the world became smaller and smaller and the power of words became even more potent because of the ease with which they could be retrieved. Recently, I had someone send me a chat history from over 2 years ago in gratitude, and a few days ago it was a voice note I had sent to someone sometime in 2010. Tell me about chewing my words…that was such a reminder. I cringe at the possibility of someone having access to painful bitter words I may have spewed out in anger in the past. Whilst I may have forgotten and moved on, those words may be hurting the person even now. Considering that, I am committed to ensuring that I manage my emotions better especially as regards what I say/ write/post.
Some years ago, one could safely consider a past gone and buried simply by changing locations and playing safe. The ‘Six Degrees Of Separation’ postulation comes to mind now, one that proposes that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of a friend of friend statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. You may not believe but several studies have affirmed the plausibility of that postulation. Even if that weren’t true, it is still a small world, a simple Google search pulls people out of comfort zones and just being connected via Facebook, BBM or Twitter ensures that your ‘sin’ finds you out ever so easily. Every time I put a friend’s picture up on my blackberry on their birthday or anniversary, that truth stares in my face when the most unlikely people message me to acknowledge that they know them. It truly is a small world!
Acknowledging that ‘It is a small world’ reminds me to be deliberate and conscious. Be conscious of decisions you make, you can lose out today on something you have always wanted because of something you did yesterday. It may feel like a small act but it can deprive you of something really big and no thanks to social media, you may not even get a chance to explain yourself. Before you put that picture up or send it to someone or post that subliminal message on Facebook or Twitter, think about it. What is your intention? Think long and hard about where it could end up, the worst possible place and if you still feel the need to put it up, feel free. Before you type that email or blackberry chat, think about it. Back then, letters weren’t so accessible, even the ‘lovey lovey’ ones. Now, email and twitter accounts have histories as far back as inception, a small search will throw up what we have committed our fingers to typing and saying . What are we saying?
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Proverbs 25:11 and Proverbs 29:20 says, “Seeth thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.”
The words ‘be slow to speak and quick to hear’ are so apt at this point. Be careful what you say…please, words can break people and whilst one may not be able to recall what was exactly said except it was recorded (and now that’s as easy as abc), as soon as words are written, they never go away. They haunt the recipient or soothe them depending on the content. Same way our pictures come up and throw up memories. Our choices of yesterday formed the memories people have of us today. Some of us habitually behave so badly in traffic and not so public places, know this assuredly, social media ensures that the turnaround time is faster than we even imagine.
We must ensure that we are consistent in our character and let us decide consciously to weigh what we say and write… you know the 60 seconds rule before a verbal response when angry? Please make that half an hour or more before you send out an email in anger, even when you feel you are right!
Have a lovely week and always remember ‘It is a Small World’
Image Credit- Google Image