Arrows, songs, and words

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Submitted by Life Columnist Fannie Moore

One of my favorite poems is one by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It is simple but packed so full of truths. Truths that are so meaningful in today’s society.

I shot an Arrow into the air

“I shot an Arrow into the air;

It fell to earth I know not where

For so swiftly it flew, the sight

Could not follow it in its flight.

“I breath’d  a Song into the air

It fell to earth, I know not where.

For who has sight so keen and strong

That It can follow the flight of a Song.

“Long, long afterward in an oak

I found the Arrow still unbroke;

And the Song from beginning to end

I found again in the heart of a friend.”

This swift travels of the arrow and song remind me of the utterance of words, kind and unkind. We never know where they may fall. And we never know how they will affect the hearer.

In the past, people were more reluctant to express viewpoints that might have been downgrading or hurtful for others. But not anymore.

While Facebook may have been intended for good, a place to share pictures and greetings to friends, it seems to have become a place for condemning those who have different views and beliefs.  There is cursing, name calling, criticizing and all manner of unkind words shared every day. Opinions may be expressed and without a doubt there are many who will disagree, but not in a kind manner.

The adage, agree to disagree, doesn’t count for much in today’s society. There is such a thing as disagreeing in an agreeable manner, but there seems to be more of the disagreeing in a disagreeable manner.

Hurtful words can be uttered, and like Wadsworth’s Arrow, we don’t know how far they can fall. How many people will they touch before they finally drop from the air? How many hearts can be broken or damaged by those careless words?

We may never know how many people were hurt by those words so carelessly uttered. It might be that the printed word is interpreted differently by the writer and the reader.

Was he being informative or were his words meant to be degrading? It could be that one reader could laugh it off, while another might think it was pointed directly at him, and feel humiliated by it..

And, we can also consider the opposite, where kind words are released into the air, or onto the page as the case may be.

We will never know how many hearts were cheered by a kind word. How many hearts were breaking and needing an uplifting word?

We should all be making more of an effort to guard our thoughts and thus our tongues. Don’t release those hurtful words into the air. They may travel far and wide and damage hundreds of souls before they come to rest.

Let them be like a Song. A song that travels untold miles, touching everyone in its path.

Let it be a beautiful song that can later be found in the hearts of friends.

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