Life and Death

I love to text.  I mean, to me, it’s often a preferred method of communication regarding the day in, day out, routine messages that we need to send among family, friends and even co-workers.  There is efficiency in getting the message out, moving on to whatever else you have going, and waiting on a response without being hung up while waiting on a response.  Allows the other party time to respond at their convenience and is also a good way to stay in touch with people who matter to you.  Not that it can be the entire communication forum for a relationship, but it’s a nice supplement. 

Since I’m over 40, I have this thing about punctuation and spelling, though.  I don’t really like all the “BFF”, “LOL” type of communications and don’t use them except maybe “LOL” on rare occasion.  I actually want to spell and punctuate which I realize is a little counter-cultural to the texting revolution. 

What I have noticed is that since I tend to write things out with punctuation, grammar and spelling intact, I have to be succinct with my words to communicate the thought in 160 characters or less.  What often happens is I type a message and run out of character allowance so I have to go back through the message and edit out unnecessary words and ideas to allow for whatever I “need” to get in at the end of the message but can’t fit without cutting something else.  As a result, I have noticed that there are often plenty of words and phrases that are too lengthy or altogether unnecessary.  The end result is that those useless entries get cut out and the message makes it victoriously.

Now, all lawyer jokes aside, I do tend to be a little verbose.  I can’t fix cars, so I don’t try to be a mechanic but generally speaking I know how to put thoughts into words and communicate.  Hence, my vocation . . .

The thought occurred to me in the middle of my texting that the skill of editing out useless thoughts, words and verbage is a good one.  Our words matter and there are plenty of things that may be entertaining and even valid that are still better off not said.  When we communicate, there are times that we would all like to back-space a ways and take out some of what we have sent out. 

The guiding principle, I believe, is to ask whether or not the words we are releasing build up or tear down?  The power of Life and death are in our words . . . are you speaking Life or death?  Encouraging (literally; giving courage) or discouraging?  A friend of mine has a tatoo that says, “Rhetoric can raise the dead” which I agree with. There is power in our words and every thought does not deserve the promotion from head to mouth to atmosphere . . . the thoughts that are destructive without purpose need to be taken captive.  

So this texting thing teaches that, if nothing else . . . treat your words with respect so that the message is relevant, valid and useful.  There is no back-space or delete to the words that we speak but there is the great correction fluid of the words, “I’m sorry” when we realize that words we have released have an intended or unintended destructive result.

2 thoughts on “Life and Death

  1. Kind of like unringing a bell isn’t it Scott. Often times my “extra” words are merely my opinion. Generally, my opinion is not needed or perhaps even wanted. It only serves to make me feel better or to convince myself that my opinion has value. In fact it is not up to me to decide the value of my words but it is up to those who read or hear them.

    If I truly value the person I am communicating with I should use as few words as possible, sticking only to the facts of the matter, leaving them to draw thier own conclusions. Otherwise, I would be cheating myself from learning what my friends and peers really believe.

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