This past week as I was making a delivery for work, I was listening to Eric Church’s song, “Kill a Word.” In it he brings up a number of individual words, primarily those with negative connotations, and discusses his desire to destroy them.
In the first verse he mentions: never, goodbye, regret, fear, lonely, and hate.
In the second: brokenness, heartbreak, upset, disgrace, and over.
And in the third: temptation, evil, wicked, vice, vile, and hostile.
As I listened to this song, I thought about all the times I’d let words like these control me. They’ve controlled my thoughts, my actions, and my choices; at times it felt as if they all but suffocated me.
Single words can be powerful, often far more than we realize. In my last post, I mentioned me and my mom’s tradition of focusing on a single word for an entire year. In 2016, my word was”give”, this year, it is “patience.” And similar to those mentioned by Eric Church, I have no doubts that other words will try and take over. Words like doubt, greed, fear, and failure. They’re all going to be sitting there on the sidelines, offering a hand when things get hard.
I’ve seen myself fall victim before. I’ve seen “achievement” swerve towards “disappointment” and land in “heartbreak.” For along with every positive word we can focus on, there will always be a countering negative.
In the chorus of the song, Eric Church sings, “if it were up to me to change, I’d turn lies and hate to love and truth. If I could only kill a word.”
Yes, if only.
Because no, we can’t kill words. But we can kill their power over us. We can’t prevent finding them, but we can navigate around them.
So this year, whether you set an intention to focus on one word, or find a number of words to focus on along the way, know that you can hold on to them. And just as there is always a negative to counter a positive, there are bigger and better positives to combat that negative.
When I think about like that, I like to imagine we actually can kill words, not with our hands but with other words. Hello can kill goodbye. Time can heal brokenness. Hope can kill despair. Inspiration can kill disappointment. Love can kill hate.