words, deeds and offered kindness

If there was a little more light and truth in the world through one human being,
his life has had meaning.”

Alfred Delp, priest

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(a cache of books from Plough Publishing House)

When life seems to be endlessly hard fraught with struggles, isn’t it amazing how
one small gesture, one small act of kindness or recognition, can mean so very much…

Over the better part of almost two years,
my life has, more often than not, felt like a battleground.

Some days there has been advancement,
some days there has been retreat,
some days there has been a stalemate,
and some days there has been defeat.

For a myriad of reasons, every last one of us faces moments in our lives
that are hard and difficult… some of those moments are downright devastating.
And much like the Geico Insurance ads that so famously highlight life’s absurdities
with that famous tag line “because that’s what you do”
we in like turn muddle through, power through or simply manage to make it
through such times…because, that’s what we do….

So imagine my surprise when one evening I received a comment on my blog
from an editor from Plough Publishing House.
She had read a recent post in which I used a quote by Eberhard Arnold,
the early 20th century Christian theologian and writer.

You must know that I do not choose the quotes that I use for each post randomly
as I am very purposeful in selecting the right words spoken…
In that I use other’s words,
in order to add impact or highlight a particular point or post,
is not something I take lightly.

There are times when I have stumbled across a quote or statement that I think appropriate
yet I may be unfamiliar with the owner of the words and thoughts.
So I’ll do a little background research.
And in that research I often find intriguing backdoor stories that draw me ever inward…
as I find myself wanting to know more about the particular individual of choice.
Such was the case with Eberhard Arnold.

I don’t want to spend time today jumping off on a side pig trail but it is
interesting that I have found the words and stories behind many German Theologians intriguing—
certainly with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who I often quote and write about,
to Maximilian Kolbe and Alfred Delp…
two Catholic priests whose lives, words and deeds we remember to this day
due in part to their martyrdom at the hands of the Nazis in the death camps of the Holocaust.

I like to think that I am not discriminatory with the words I include in my posts
as I greatly welcome the thoughts and words from a wide range of the faithful…
be they Protestant or Evangelical, Catholic or even Jew—
I have a deep respect for those individuals who have spent their lives,
if not having given up their lives, for our shared Judaeo / Christian faith and beliefs…
As they are in part the stone pavers to the pathway we walk today.

And so was the case with my inclusion of Eberhard Arnold…
which in turn brought the attention of a senior publishing editor my way.
She asked if I would be interested in maybe receiving a few of their newest releases
in hopes that I might find time to not only read them but to share them on the blog.

I was more than humbled as well as honored by her offer.

Delightfully a small package arrived Tuesday afternoon containing five books.
Five faith-filled books…
Of which I look forward to exploring and sharing from time to time here on cookiecrumbs with you…

There is so much to learn as well as to apply to our own 21st century lives from the thoughts and experiences of those who, having often walked their journey prior to our own, have put their
experiences of both their lives and faith in action to pen and paper…

We should note that the written word has such a way of
transcending both space and time…as does a simple act of kindness…

All be they seemingly insignificant, it would behoove us to be mindful of the
importance of our own actions and words… .
That to reach out, to speak, to touch, to offer kind thoughts,
gestures and words to another…can, as a stone dropped into a still pond,
ripple outward reverberating far beyond our limited sight…
touching those who we may never meet or know….
Such is the power of our words and deeds…

The final Kingdom is near, and the whole world should be on the watch.
But the world will not take heed unless the Church of Jesus Christ puts the unity
and justice of this Kingdom into practice daily.
Faith will bring about true unity among believers
who are ready to live a life of unlimited,
active love.

Eberhard Arnold, 1934

“A drop of ink may make a million think.”

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(photograph: Julie’s desk 2013)

The title of today’s post by Lord Byron, albeit a bit poetic, certainly prompted me to think–as was the point I suppose. Just mere ink on paper…forming letters then words has, down through the ages, changed lives, changed governments, changed nations….From the Talmud on ancient scrolls, to the Magna Carta to our own Declaration of Independence, ink and paper possess tremendous power.

Men and woman die defending ink and paper. We fight one another over ink and paper. Ink and paper has caused people to take their own lives. It’s all a rather overwhelming combination when you actually think about the simplicity of the two as single entities and yet when combined together how staggeringly strong and powerful the two become.

Nathaniel Hawthorn, the early 19th century American novelist, reminded those of his day that “words—so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.” This statement coming from a man who wrote the Scarlet Letter—-the powerful tale we all read in High School of the single red letter A literally forced upon a young woman, to wear for all to see, as a visible sign of a private indiscretion made very public. A single written letter, worn, changing lives forever.

And when I think of a small, rather pitiful, man who took pen and paper to write about his “struggles”, Mein Kampf, and how that combination of letters, forming words, became a psychotic manifesto of a single disturbed individual who worked a nation up into a frenzy of death and murder….or of another angst ridden man who put ink to paper, forming a doctrine of living which in turn sent another nation to revolt against it’s ruling czar, changing the course of history and our own lives forever—it becomes so overwhelming to me….it all simply starts first with ink, then paper, then letters, then words…………….

Today so many of us causally throw words around never taking time to ponder the consequence or outcome of those words which are now so easily clicked off a computer or phone. From toxic viral e-mails to emotional ranting tweets—words and their piercing effects are almost unemotionally thrown out at individuals, with intentions to hurt, to mock, to belittle–allowing the offender to hide behind them—-

No longer is it really ink on paper. Did we think more, do we think more, when we are actually having to take a pen or pencil in hand to a sheet of paper rather than the rapid fire texting we seem to have reduced ourselves to today….? Did we consider our words more carefully when we were actually writing, slowly, letter per letter, word built upon word….were we kinder, more thoughtful, more determined, more committed? Perhaps not—but what if we were more thoughtful of our words and of the choice of those words…..what then???

On this Monday morning, a new day to a new week, consider the words you write—-type—during the course of the week—how powerful are they? What is their true intent? Do you wish to harm or help?
Do your words represent who you truly think you are—kind and benevolent–or caustic and trite….my hope is that we may be more mindful when combining letters into forming words—
What shall your words be….