Different Kinds of Happy

Why It’s Often Better to Say Less

Taken from Donald Miller’s blog (http://storylineblog.com/)

by Al Andrews

“I am finding that the older I get, the less I need to say.

It’s not that I don’t have thoughts about things. I have plenty of them. But these days as I edge toward my sixth decade, many of those thoughts simply do not need to be expressed. Most of my black and white firm opinions of my youth have faded to gray, and with the fading has come a quiet grace that doesn’t need to force its way out front.

Being right, making my point, or being heard and noticed, is losing its appeal. I find myself quieter these days, desiring an economy of words. I want my words to matter and bless and help.

I’ve learned more about this from my wife, Nita, who is gifted with many creative things. Often she tries ideas out on me. I love being her creativity guinea pig. One Saturday morning, she introduced me to a writing exercise, giving me a random page from a long essay. My assignment – read the page several times, underlining certain words and phrases that stand out. Then, interact with those words for a while. And after that, black out the unnecessary words. “Something,” she said, “will arise from the page.”

Here’s what it looked like before (left) and after (right).

And here is what formed from the remaining words:

It will arrive.
In the stillness, I know I’m going to find myself.
In that moment, just before all thought –
I know I’ll find that which seems suspended,
motionless,
strange and different and indefinable.
I’m carried along.
The infinite comes into view.
See the wind, the sun, the river with its many tributaries.
Its water burns in the course of my dreams.
The world before me-
Someone made that.
I belong.

This brief exercise taught me something. Out of the plethora of words available, there are a few which – if unearthed, selected, and spoken – truly matter. But more than that, they bring with them a beauty that calls the heart to more.

When I consider the creation story in the first few verses of the Old Testament, it tells how God hovers over the swirling chaos and the void, and then he speaks into it – one or two sentences a day – bringing beauty, order, and a place for relationships to flourish. One or two sentences a day.

I think he was onto something. There’s more that I could say. There always is. But I think I’ll stop here.

Of all the words available to you today, what are two sentences that someone needs to hear you say?”

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This entry was published on June 18, 2013 at 2:23 pm and is filed under Creative Inspiration, Writing. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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