The Power of the Word

Maybe prayer casts spells... words are made by spelling after all.

prayer casting spells
Image by Anja from Pixabay

I am of a spiritual designation known as Gnostic which literally means ‘one who knows’, as opposed to Agnostic which means ‘one who does not know’.

When I tell people this, I see them looking at me in that tone of voice that says, Oh you think you know everything?

In fact, I have suffered this prejudice time and time again.

Sometimes people dress me up like a paper doll in the clothes of some ego-maniac. It happens.

Funny thing is, I’ve squashed my ego (well, not-completely) over the past twenty years or so… It’s still a work in progress, but I’m willing to bet that my making a conscious effort of squashing it, is more than most can say for themselves!

The truth is, being a Gnostic means I only know one thing for certain. Everything else is a mystery to me.

I know myself, but never entirely.

I grew keen on this little tidbit of knowledge, the fact that everyone must assume I am an ego-maniac, while dining with my wife at a high-end restaurant.

I have a habit to pick my teeth with a flosser and we we’re nearing our second course…

She says to me, while I reach in my pocket for it, “You’re not gonna floss your teeth right here and right now are you?”

I sent out the immediate order of cease and desist.

“I have stuff in my teeth,” I say.

“So does everyone else. What do you think you’re God or something?”

Hmm. I think, no.

“Does everyone else have stuff in their teeth?” I ask while truly wondering if everybody’s teeth hurt as bad as mine did…

“Yes!” she says, her cheeks blushing like the portrait of a perfect french princess.

Then, I became slightly more empathetic and I thought perhaps that everyone at the venue may in-fact be in such pain. So, I joined the elite.

Beauty is pain, I told myself.

…and I suffered silently until the next dainty course.

Oysters with caviar.

While I pondered the question of whether I was devoid of inhibitions or merely a pansy, I thought of my first experience with how powerful a word could be.

It was in Mrs. Sheppard’s class, 1988. We were having a canned food drive. Whichever class brought in the most non-perishables naturally would receive a pizza party.

I was surprised when it was mine. Just one little suggestion to us kids, and our suggestion to our families, gathered enough canned goods to provide for someone else who was terribly in need.
One word grows into great impact.

Of course, I saw the pizza party as proof that any class lucky enough to have me in it would surely have won!
A prime example of why my ego needed a good squashing over these last many years!

Next, I started to understand that the spoken word might have a little more to it than meets the eye.
I saw The Sword in the Stone that year.

It was displayed on a genuine tube TV atop a wheeled iron cart.
You know the ones the teachers used to keep a projector on, which never worked! Though, I do somehow remember the shadows of the slides falling…

Mrs. Sheppard wheeled it into our fifth grade classroom and we all watched.

Best history lesson I ever had!

Though, I think the point of the story had something more to do with the fact that animals could teach us things if we just saw the world from their point-of-view. Or maybe, it was that education was more important than swordplay and shenanigans.
Yes, that’s more grown-up.

The pen is mightier than the sword and all that stuff!

Anyway, great teacher, Mrs. Sheppard!

She showed me the magic of words!

Watching Merlyn weave young Arthur into different shapes was incredible and imaginative to say the least. What was better was, that the words he used and the experiences he bestowed gave the boy an education. They made him think!

I read a poem on the internet that almost unravels the mystery of words themselves.
I am searching for the source of the poem to cite it correctly and have ordered two books, one is Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein with a publication date of 2014 and another called Egghead published in 2013 by Bo Burnham, both seem to lay claim to the poem called MAGIC…
A mystery in itself!

But the excerpt follows:

Read this to yourself. Read it silently.
Don’t move your lips. Don’t make a sound?
Listen to yourself. Listen without hearing anything.
What a wonderfully weird thing, huh?


Now, hear a whisper. A tiny whisper.

Now, read this next line in your best crotchety old man voice:
Hello there sonny, does this town have a post office?

Awesome! Who was that? Whose voice was that?
Certainly not yours.

How do you do that? How!?

Must be magic.

They served us a little sorbet as a palette cleanser while we waited on the third course.

Elk. Two small medallions with a butter sauce. She’s opted for adventure and chosen the duck.

I wipe my mouth and sip the pink soiree of fruit juices which mimic an alcoholic beverage while she drinks vodka straight-up.
Okay, not straight-up, she has a cushy drink, but I think vodka straight-up because I’d totally slam that vodka and whatever…

Why’s there still vodka there? What’s the point of it? Drink it for god’s sake! One drink too many, two never enough…

Words are more important than the drink right now because we’re still using them civilly between us.

Sticks and stones may break my bones…
Pastor Luke had suggested during morning service that words are worse because they take even longer to heal.
I’m thankful for this pleasant time to exchange some healing ones between us.

We talk about the book of Exodus. How the Lord hardened the Pharoah’s heart again and again so that we would finally and totally be heard when God cast the final Judgement…
I think she was as surprised as I was that he would do such a thing.

There’s something about the word of God passing gently between husband and wife.
She had never been more beautiful.

The conversation reminded us that we always say a little prayer over our dinner. This time it was two courses late, but better late than never.

May he travel with us and bless those less fortunate.

Prayer is words. There is power in prayer, for sure.

Words have healed the sick, made the blind man see, sewn marriage vows, declared death sentences, created the universe…

Someone once said that the strongest form of prayer was worry. When we look at it that way…

aren’t all words prayer?

Mary’s other son, James declares that if we can but control the tongue we could be perfect and control the rest of the body.

Maybe he’s onto something.

Man, dinner was good. Just wait til dessert!

Oh la la! Her chocolate cake was delivered with a candy shell which was covered in hot fudge before her eyes. Blue crystals, still vibrant after all these years.

I am a chocolate connoisseur, but that was too rich for me. I dined on a strawberry shortbread that indelibly hit the spot.

When the bill came we joked with each other that we would be paying with a credit card whose limit barely affords the one meal. Then, one final glance at the lovely atmosphere and that was it.

I gathered my jacket and she her purse, then open the car door for her to keep chivalry alive a few more years.
We head home.

“I guess we’ll never eat somewhere that fancy again,” she says laughing.

And just like that we’ve forgotten the power of our words all over again…

Lessons lost in the more important and divine experience of true love.

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Jay Horne is an author and publisher out of Bradenton, Florida. He is a husband and father of four.
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