It’s National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo, and it’s never more clear than at this time of year that words have power. With amateurs and scholars, novices and experts putting pen to paper, type to screens, we see the power of ideas created by words made up of the same twenty-six letters given to each of us.
My Caribbean grandmother raised me on a diet of sayings close to her roots. We all know the saying, “Faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains. Then there’s my favorite, “Words and thoughts have molding powers.” Years ago, in my earliest of twenties, I remember a snow-covered night, brisk with cold and unusually quiet, with the insulation of falling flakes. It was on that most sensory rich evening that my first college boyfriend chose to tell me about her; the woman he’d met, the one he’d marry ten years later. I was blindsided, hurt and shaken. I was a silly goose of a girl who a year before saw her first love move away, and I felt cheated.
As he got into his car to drive away that night, I stood in my doorway and said a silent prayer, “One day you’ll come back to me, and I’ll get to decide.” I had forgotten that moment until some fifteen years later, when I got a message on Facebook. My college boyfriend was reaching out, and wanted to see me. Jumbled feelings and curiosity are a heady mix for a woman faced with seeing a man she once loved after so much time.
I agreed, and on a Saturday evening, I invited my ex to dinner. He was different; fuller in body, weaker in smiles, and thinner of hair. Life had been a little tough on his heart, and he wore the pain like a shell of armor. We reminisced, met several more times, and he asked to romantically rejoin my life. With a heavy heart, and a sad realization that I didn’t love him, and I didn’t want to, I turned his down. It was only after I stopped hearing from him for several weeks that I remembered that snowy night. My little pledge, whispered into the dark, heard only by the wind, had become real. Those twelve little words found molding powers.
Our words are proof that our lives are filled with possibilities. This month serves as a reminder, that sometimes great achievements, love, success, or even that tiny mustard seed of an idea are simply waiting for us to speak or write them into existence, and grant them the power to be.