Words DO Hurt

We’ve all heard the adage about “sticks and stones” and how “words can never hurt you”. Well, it’s not true and we have studies to prove it!

One study showed that the “mental health effects of childhood bullying are still evident up to 40 years later.” The study also showed that “Victims of bullying have ‘poorer health, lower income, lower quality of life’ as adults”.

Another study found that verbal abuse could cause as much damage in adulthood as physical and sexual abuse. One researcher opines that “Verbal abuse may also have more lasting consequences than other forms of abuse, because it’s often more continuous.” As someone who suffered verbal and physical abuse in the home as well as major bullying throughout school, these studies explain a lot about my mental health issues.

Language and it’s use and abuse will be a continuing subject on this blog.  I was 30 years old when the concept of damaging words first came to my attention.  It’s been an item of interest to me ever since. So expect to hear more about language as we go forward. So many topics of interest to me have a strong basis in language: racism, sexism, self-hatred. The list can go on and on. And the damage is not just individual, but societal as well.

What are your thoughts on the effect of language not only on individuals but on society? Have you experienced this kind of abuse or witnessed it? What are your experiences?


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God Bless the Broken Road

God Bless the Broken Road. It’s a song by Rascal Flatts, and it came on the radio this morning as I was out doing errands. I’ve always loved this song, because it describes so well my own journey in life.

It so easy to get frustrated with what seems to be dead ends in our lives, especially when we’re doing everything right. We’re listening the voice of the divine, we’re discerning our path and following it as best we know how. And yet we still aren’t getting anywhere. We rail at God. “Why!” we cry. “I’m doing everything you told me. Why am I still as lost as ever?”

We’re not lost though. We just can’t see past the broken parts of the road, past the next bend, over the next hill. To us, it seems the road is ending, but it’s not. If we just look a bit further, we’ll see the next part of the road to follow. Let me give you an example from my own life.

Ever since I was a young teenager, I was fascinated with religious life (that is: being a nun or sister). Which is interesting because I wasn’t even Catholic. The desire never left, and eventually, while  in college, I converted to Catholicism. A few years later I started actively looking at different religious orders. I even entered a convent for a while. But no matter what I did, I just seemed to keep running into brick walls.  I didn’t give up though. I kept pushing at the wall, looking for the next step in my road. And just when I thought nothing would ever happen, close to my 40th birthday, I found just the perfect community for me, and they were thrilled with me too! I was so happy.

And then I posted on the message board of a game I played about missing everyone when I entered the convent. A man replied with all kinds of questions. Why the convent, how does it work, would I still be able to post on the message board, could I have phone calls. So I emailed  him, and he emailed me, and back and forth we went. Three months later I packed everything I owned and moved across the country to marry him. 13 years later, we’re still very happily married.

You see, God never intended me to actually become a nun. He wanted me to eventually meet my husband. He led me down one broken road after another until all the elements were set in place. And then he dropped the bomb.

So, don’t despair when your road seems broken. Keep listening to the divine voice, keep moving forward. Take everything one day at a time. You’ll eventually get there and when you do you’ll understand your own broken road.

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Why the Desert?

Many people, looking at this blog for the first time will wonder, “Why the desert?”. It’s not really what most expect on a blog primarily about spirituality.  And they’re right. I went through many, many pictures looking for just the right header for this blog. I went through all the usual suspects. Ocean views, towering mountains, religious symbols, suns, moons, and stars.  But none of them seemed to fit.

Then I saw this desert scape, and I knew immediately that I’d found what I was looking for.

The desert is a perfect metaphor for my spiritual life and growth. Yes, the desert can be harsh and unyielding. It can be the scene of great suffering. But the desert also has great beauty if you know where to look.

This is how I view life. We have great trials and suffering, but if we know where to look, we can see the beauty in those trials. The most difficult times in our lives can teach us the greatest lessons, if we’re open to seeing them.

So I guess that’s our theme here.  The desert.

If your life had a theme, a single picture to represent you, what would it be, and why?


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