Wednesday, December 30, 2009


My English-major daughter was flaunting her six-pack vocABulary muscles. "Concision is not your strong point, Mom."

I lugged out our 1955 edition of The Oxford Universal Dictionary...the 2515-page, twenty-seven-pound version we inherited from Steve's granddad. According to this ponderous tome (which trumps Mr. Webster and even the internet as a resource in our house), concision means conciseness, or the quality of being brief and comprehensive in statement. Not wordy.

A quick glance at just about any of my previous posts will provide sufficient evidence to support my daughter's statement. Who writes a blog post that requires 4 scroll downs? Or that would be more easily understood if it had chapter breaks? Okay, I admit it - I tend to be excessively wordy. But I come by this verbosity honestly.

I recently had the fun of perusing the school yearbook from my Dad's senior year of highschool. On a page featuring the Last Will and Testament of the Senior Class of 1950, the final entry reads, "I, William Joseph Stricklin, do hereby will my ability to make long-winded speeches to J.D. Rickard." My kids hooted over that - they are all well-acquainted with and fond of Granddaddy's penchant for telling lengthy, often outrageous tales!

The people in my family talk...a lot. And most of us seem to be under the conviction that more words are way better than a few. We have a funny twist on an old saying: "Well, to make a short story long,...."

Actually, I'm not a big talker unless I'm really, really tired or over-caffeinated. For me, writing is the equivalent of talking for most people. And when I write, I like to use LOTS and LOTS of words!

Perhaps it was an awareness of this tendency that prompted me years ago to commit to memory Proverbs 10:19 - When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. The next few verses go on to say that "the tongue of the righteous is choice silver" and "the lips of the righteous nourish many".

I have spoken - and written - so many words over my lifetime that were full of sin, words of clay instead of silver, words that weakened rather than nourished. And by contrast, I have feasted on the well-spoken words of dear sisters and brothers in Christ, words sweet like honey and full of life, full of the Gospel. Words are tremendously powerful, for harm or for good. I pray that more and more, my words will be aptly chosen and wisely spoken.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
- John 1:1

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