Winds and words, their power to affect the lives of men is immeasurable. Both can be harnessed to better the lives of all around us, they can also, if mishandled lead to the destruction of those we love. No mater the wall that is built, literal or figurative, they both have the power to chip away at the strongest foundation.
Winds can topple buildings, and literally reshape entire landscapes. They are what spread the wildfires that ravage the wood lines. They bring the waves crashing onto the coast when massive hurricanes strike. They uproot and move entire houses in tornado ally.
Yet, for all the potential damage they can do, I have not met a person who didn’t fantasize about relaxing under a shade tree with a bay breeze coming in off the water. Every one of us has enjoyed a ride down the road at some point with the top down or with the windows open, feeling the gentle push of its cooling embrace against our face. Ships have prayed for the winds to stir, and move them along their journey. As technology advanced and allowed us to no longer require the wind to set sail with our major vessels we turned to it to power our cities. There is no escaping our need for it. You can’t see it, only sometimes can you hear it, but you can ALWAYS feel it.
Words are much the same. They can spread the seeds of hate and bigotry. They can be used to tear down any belief, any faith. They are capable of destroying common ground; the very foundation societies are built on. Friendships are often lost on the tongue. Words can be used to lie, to corrupt, and to manipulate. They can be spouted with much vigor and fervor to march men off to war. They can destroy dreams and shatter confidence.
Yet just like the wind, for all the destruction that a slight of the tongue can produce we still long for all the goodwill it can create. Who from a young age hasn’t wished for the simple yet priceless pleasure we gain from a few well-spoken verses? Who hasn’t wanted to hear “Great job” from a mentor? Who amongst us hasn’t yearned for our heart to feel the exhilaration produced from reading a love letter from the person you covet the most.
Haven’t we all desired to feel that stir in our soul as we listened to a call to action for a worthy cause? Words are much like the wind in that you only know they are there because of the wake they leave as they pass you by. You can sometimes see them written on paper, you can sometime hear them as they roll of the lips, but regardless of the medium, just like the wind you can ALWAYS feel them.
So how do we master them? How do we gain control of them and make them work for us? The truth is that you never really do. When a sailboat captain sets sail for a long voyage he doesn’t know when or which direction he wind will blow, he only knows that at some point it will blow and he has to be prepared to harness it.
Words are much the same way, you don’t know whom or when people will speak good or ill of you, but you can rest assured good or bad no matter what, people will talk about you. Its up to you to be prepared, regardless of the words they speak, to use them to move you onward to your dreams.
Our success and survivability varies greatly among men based on their ability to understand that while we can never control the external forces from either, we can control our internal reactions to each. In doing so we are able to change our sails to harness their power and move us though our course, rather than break under the bludgeoning’s of their force, and find ourselves stranded and alone.
Just the ramblings of an ol’ infantryman