The Power of Language

I love the names of colorways.  I was perusing the Magpie Fiber website recently in hot pursuit of the yarn “London Rain” that Joji Locatelli used to make her Lightweight Hipster shawl and then I saw “Paris Train” and “Wood Smoke” and “Smoke on the Water.”  I noticed how the names of the yarn caused an immediate emotional connection.  I could feel the London rain, smell the wood smoke, see the gray mist rising up from the water and picture myself on that fast train to Paris.  Language has power.

     Saying something out loud gives it power.  When we say it to another person, it takes on even greater power and when we write it down and read it over and over, we start to believe it. 

            For the longest time, I had a friend who believed that God would never love her.  She had done something in her younger days that she considered unforgivable.   I tried to convince her about the mercy of God, but she just kept insisting that she was not worthy of forgiveness.  I couldn’t imagine.

     I was successful getting her to church.  She would come and listen and sing the hymns.  Her voice had a depth to it, a resonance that reminded me of two strings on a cello being played together.  She refused to join the choir, but to my surprise the choir director convinced her to sing a chant based on Psalm 51 at one of the Lenten services.  The choir director had written a melodic chant especially for her voice.

     The night of the service, my friend stood in the center of the church holding a candle and started chanting:

“Have mercy on me O Lord, according to your loving kindness, in your great compassion blot out my offenses, wash me through and through from my wickedness and cleanse me from my sin.  Create in me a clean heart, O God.”

     She stopped, tears streaming down her face.  There was a long moment of silence before she began again.

      I asked her later that night what happened?  She replied, when I started singing, I felt this overwhelming feeling of forgiveness wash over me just like the words in the Psalm.  I didn’t ask for it, but it happened just the same.  It was the words, the music, the people, all in the moment that finally cracked her heart open.

     That moment of healing was just the beginning.  She wrote the first few verses of Psalm 51 on a piece of paper and stuck it up on her bathroom mirror where she could read it every day until finally, she believed.

Project Update

Rows 1-8 of Pattern #26 from the Japanese Stitch Bible (I did 1 inch of stockinette yesterday)

Published by Julie Cicora

I'm an Episcopal Priest that loves using knitting as a spiritual discipline.

5 thoughts on “The Power of Language

  1. Oh.. now I’m crying, sorry.
    This was so moving and I could visualise it unfolding.

    I can’t sing hymns without sobbing, so I don’t go to church.
    It also happens with a church service on tv or radio, as if a tidal wave washes over.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this story. Your post also reminded me of a recent discovery. I like to knit hats for newborns. Recently I gifted new parents with a blue green and gold hat. In the accompanying card, I shared that I called the hat ” Earth and Sky .” When the couple read the card, the new father held up the hat and announced to those at the baby shower, “Meet Earth and Sky.” In that moment, I learned the power of naming. From now on, I will share my private name for my projects with the recipients, as the name provides them with a glimpse into the spirit in which I made the gift.


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