The importance of words

Recent weeks have brought a season of loss for many among my friends and family. Every life impacts so many more. Often, the person who has passed has no idea how far reaching the effects of their passing will be. When a young person passes, the reality of our own mortality is clearer than ever. My heart was broken for the Turner family and the Lee family in recent weeks as they had to give up beautiful young women.

When Connie Farrington Brosi departed this world last week, I was very deeply saddened at her passing, yet rejoiced in her long years and the life she had lived. She was a marvelous mother, devoted wife, wonderful friend, and all around amazing human being. Her sweet spirit was a light to those around her.

Connie loved books, especially Appalachian literature, which had been part of their family business for years. She and her husband, George, are well known across the region for specializing in their personal friendships with authors, and their knowledge base of Appalachian writing.

Words were important to Connie. She was continually recommending new books to me that she had just finished reading. She was forever encouraging me to write. She would often tell me about reading one of my newspaper columns, or blogs and share what it had meant to her. In return, I constantly urged her to write about her own life for her children. She was working on it.

I had saved our computer correspondence over the years but lost a huge chunk of things when my computer crashed about three or four years ago. After her passing, I went back and read those e-mails I had saved since then. Even in the midst of her illness, she was always kind, always encouraging, always trying to stay positive, and always grateful. How important those words were in the midst of a difficult end of her journey!

Saving the words of those we love is so very important. Those words not only tell stories, but they teach us about the things in life that really matter. A person’s words reveal their inner heart. Even after a person is taken from us, their words still have power.

I have tried to encourage people to write down their stories. I want to take this opportunity to do so again. Write your own story. No one can tell the story of your life as well as you can tell it yourself. If you don’t want your whole story to be known, then write down the lessons you’ve learned, funny stories, adventures, and accounts of important events along the way. Share your love, your wisdom, and your faith in God.

Many people are not comfortable with writing and the older generation is not comfortable with technology enough to type their stories. Do it for them! You will not realize the value of those words until the person is gone and their stories silenced.

If you don’t think you can retell another person’s story and do it justice — get a tape recorder and save it that way.

What we do and what we say about what is going on in the world around us is going to be vitally important to those who come after us. Maybe they can learn something from the stories we share or the lessons we learn. If nothing else, stories now will reflect a world that is changing rapidly. It is as if time has accelerated and things are spinning out of control.

Without our words left as a record of who we are, what we believe, and what is going on around us, there will be a huge void for future generations. The world they know will not even resemble the world we live in.

I am so thankful for the words I shared with Connie Brosi. Rereading them gave me great comfort.

Words are important. Let us choose them wisely. Let us speak words of life, truth, and encouragement. Let us leave a legacy of wisdom and love in the words we leave behind.

Reach Judith Victoria Hensley at or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.

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