Pick Your Words to Light a Candle

Everyone knows the expression, ‘it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.’ It makes sense to take control of yourself rather than complain about a circumstance. It seems simple enough, but it can be a complicated process.

The author of this sentence is one of my favorite historical figures, Eleanor Roosevelt. Being born into an affluent family did not save Eleanor from suffering. She was in a shipwreck at one point, and she survived. Her mother did not think much of her looks or behavior and called her derogatory names. She later died from diphtheria when Eleanor was young, and shortly afterward, one of her brothers also died from the same disease. At the same time, Eleanor’s father was an alcoholic who developed seizures and died young.

It’s known that Eleanor had an unhappy childhood and suffered depression for many years. She went on to marry into a complex family with a controlling mother-in-law and gave birth to six children. But she lost one who was only a few days old. Eleanor then went on to marry an ambitious man, who ended up cheating on her. The infidelity brought her to a dark place in her life, and she decided to do what she wanted by creating a life of service. She turned her face to the country’s issues and, later, the world.

Each of our lives has a path; there will be many places to pause to consider the next step or seek direction. We all have choices, and as I navigate my journey, I find a few sources of power that help keep me on the right path. I would challenge all of you to consider the forces in your lives that help guide you on your way.

Here is my shortlist:

· Faith

· Family

· My stand/my WHY

· My circle of support

· Language

Your list could be different. I have met people who have made brilliant decisions and do not profess faith. I’ve met and admired people who don’t have family, and a circle of support may not be a constant in anyone’s life, but they still are on the path of good. The one common factor to us all is language.

In those moments of decision, language will be there. As we look toward 2023 and the new opportunities we all have, I want to explore the power of language. The power will come from the words we choose, the questions we ask, how we use language to connect, and how we select a word to shine a light on our path.