The word

“Silence is the language of god, all else is poor translation.” ~ Rumi


The hardest time, I believe, was right after dad had the stroke. He was in the acute rehab section of the hospital and looked like a lost child.

His eyes would take in a face in the dining room as he ate his lunch or dinner, but they were unreadable. His expression was blank. He seemed to be lost in some strange world, trying to decide how he landed there.

man's eyesAnd he didn’t say a word.

My mother, brother and I took turns being with him. For a month. We stayed by his side and helped him as best we could because he was unable to ask for what he needed. So we brought water. Food. Asked the staff for what he couldn’t ask for himself.

The stroke impacted his cognition but he also was diagnosed with aphasia.

For those who don’t know what this is, aphasia is a neurological disorder caused by damage to portions of the brain that makes it difficult to speak or understand speech.

This felt cruel and sad because dad had been a “word” person.

He once gave inspirational and motivational talks and lectures around the world. After he spoke, many people found the God within or said they had found a certain kind of healing. The Divine had channeled its love through dad’s spoken word to reach out and touch many people.

Why do I share all this? Because dad’s journey reminds me of the power of words.

And as a writer, I’m all about words. They have tremendous energy and emit a vibration. We can use them to heal or hurt. Bless or curse.

They are the tools we use to create and the choices we make in that creation are critical.

In many spiritual traditions the “word” is the beginning of creation. The Bible states that “in the beginning was the Word …” and in Indic Vedic thought the Word — Aum — is how the universe began. words in books transport us to new worlds, give us a mirror by which we see ourselves in new ways, and allow us to share in the common human experience.

Words help us know we’re not alone.

Spoken words of “good morning” to the cashier in the grocery store, a compliment to a co-worker, encouragement to a teen or elderly person — all can revive drooping spirits.

The opposite can also happen. One time, stuck in traffic with windows open, the driver next to me began cursing with vitriol at the driver in front of him. His words sliced through the air like knives.

Dad has come a long way these last three years since the stroke. Thanks to the goodness and kindness of the speech therapist at the hospital who has since become a dear friend, dad speaks.

But he still struggles to find words. He has good days and bad days. And it breaks my heart when he can’t finish a sentence, when he has the word lodged somewhere in his brain but he can’t retrieve it or put meaning to it. So I wait. I pray.

I have come to see all this as a lesson for me. As much as I love words, I also find them to be barriers.

Some things in life simply can’t be expressed verbally or on paper. The look in someone’s eyes, the touch of a hand, the welling up of joy at a luminous sunrise over the ocean or the anguish and heartache of losing a loved one.

silenceYes, we can express many life experiences. But words are often inadequate and fail to convey the deepest meanings and emotions of the human heart.

In truth, sometimes silence is the most effective way to communicate.

So, when dad can’t find the words, I touch that depth of silence. This is a good space. Perhaps it is the authentic and generative energy where creation truly happens.

Words are birthed. But silence is the womb.

And what is it we wish to bear and deliver to the world?


10 thoughts on “The word

  1. As a speech therapist and fellow writer, I agree wholeheartedly with the power of words and their ability to touch minds and hearts. But thank you for the reminder that there is also meaning in silence, and that sometimes it is even the best way to communicate since words can be limiting and cannot always convey the depth or vastness of our human experience. Sometimes we simply must reside in silence for healing, for understanding, and to make space in all the noise to hear God. After all, He gets the last word.


    • So beautifully said, Jo-Ann! Thanks for taking time to read my post and comment. And since you ARE a speech therapist, you so understand what dad has been doing through. In gratitude for your work to those in need and for your kind words here.


  2. Oh Marielena….so beautiful and as always touching my heart. Thank you for sharing yourself with us ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ♡​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ♡​​​


    • Thank you, sweet Karen. I feel the gifts we’ve been given are meant to be shared and it is my pleasure to share in this blog, in the hopes that whatever I write may indeed touch hearts! ❤


    • You’re welcome, dear Laura. And a heartfelt thanks to you for taking time to read my blog post and for your kind comments. I so appreciate your words … and you!


  3. Deraest Marielana,You are such a powerful,thought provoking and inspirational writer.I thank you from the bottom of my heart for recognizing my goodness and kindness in the recovery of you Dad’s words.However,I cannot take credit.I am simply a facilitator.True credit goes to God above who I believe works through all of us.And frankly the ultimate facilitator is you,your fathers caregiver.Your hard work in being present to him and to all who you inspire with your words is just that….inspirational. Please keep your writings.They are a blessing and a gift.


    • What can I say to such kindness about my writing, dear Loretta? All I can say is thank you and most of all, I do recognize that you were sent to us — to dad and our family — to help and encourage. You were such a Godsend in the hospital while we were there, struggling to hang on, day after day. You offered such simple, yet kind acts — asking if we were hungry, did we need food or water, and you offered a listening ear and heart. How can I EVER thank you for how you helped us during those dark, dark days? I can’t, except to continue to pray for you and all the good you do for others and offer my deepest thanks. YOU are a blessing and a gift.


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