CORNER WINDOW by Jeff Hartzer
#021, September 2008
R-e-c-o-g-n-i-t-i-o-n: there are many definitions for this word: acknowledgement, attention, favorable notice, to know or to identify, approval, acceptance, appreciation for...From our first cries as a new born, we crave and look forward to moments of recognition from others. The problem is that it is a scary thing for a lot of folks to acknowledge others with praise or compliments. There are some folks who find giving praise to others easier than accepting the gift of praise for themselves. These folks are rare. Sad as it seems, criticism seems to come easier and more often than praise or positive recognition. When a person writes down their thoughts and words, that person is called to recognize his or her own feelings about those words. To think a thought and then to physically write that thought into words on paper is, when you think about it, a miraculous event. Miraculous and scary. What have we created? Is it the truth? Is it magic? Is it a message to self or to others?
When one distributes their words through email, or puts them in an envelope with a stamp, how those words will be received is a mystery. You hope for a positive reaction to your words. You can pray. But frankly, you just never know how your words will be understood by others. Your words express your own reality and experience. Each receiver of your words has his or her own unique ‘experience’ of life as well. I may mention the word ‘c-a-t’. You might be a lover or a hater of cats; you bring a unique experience to that simple three letter word. Your opinion of ‘cats’ may not be the same as mine. Is this a bad thing or a good thing? Am I ‘a good witch or a bad witch’, a Republican or a Democrat? A dog lover or cat lover or both? And what are you, the reader of these words? Does it matter?
Through our shared knowledge of words, we can reach a place of recognition that is shared together. Words are powerful. They can heal. They can wound. They can beg for miracles. Words need to be written and they need to be heard by an audience of at least one. You are your first audience. After that, who knows? Where do you share your words ? To whom do you speak your words? Are they locked inside your heart and mind? Are they on paper? Are they merged into a poem, a story, an article? Do you write words only for homework to be marked up by teachers bearing evil red pens? That is for you to decide.
Soon we will hear the sounds of geese and cranes returning to winter in our valley. They have their song to sing. They sing it without judgement. Their flight song is as miraculous as your words are. Think about this. Ponder it and see if you don’t have some words that others may benefit from seeing and hearing. Post a note to your family on the fridge; email an old friend or relative. Break through and connect with someone through your words. Remember, kind words travel farther than harsh words.
Jeff Hartzer © 2008