The Way of Words


Phillips Church

After the Boston bombings many of us sought comfort in fellowship.  We shared and then passed along words which struck a chord and soothed roiling souls.

Language has its limitations.  As a short story of Primo Levi’s noted, it “was born with us, suitable for describing objects more or less as large and long-lasting as we are. It doesn’t go beyond what our senses tell us.”

But sometimes gifted writers’ combinations of words can help  us to appreciate and understand what lies “beyond what our senses tell us.”

Jan Richardson wrote “Only Speak the Word“:

You might not have guessed
how far this blessing
can travel.

But it is worth believing
that it is built
for crossing distances
for stretching itself
for making its way
without hesitation
to the place
where it is needed most. . . .


Trust that these words
know the path
into your anguish,
that in your ache
they will become balm
and in your pain
they will become soothing.
Trust that they will be for you
a sweet
and stunning

In her blog, “The Painted Prayerbook,” Jan Richardson also wrote a gorgeous blessing about what “shimmers within the storm.”

Unfortunately, I was among those who repeated a misattribution of this blessing’s provenance to poet John O’Donohue.  Fortunately, her words themselves have traveled far, and brought peace where needed most.


About Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She also is an adjunct professor at a law school on the banks of the Charles and loves that dirty water, as she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2020 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with Wordpress protocol and the numerous other wee buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.
This entry was posted in Love and Loss and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Way of Words

  1. bluebrightly says:

    Beautiful peonies, and wise words. I appreciate the way Jan Richardson’s poem can be taken in and can nourish people of any faith.

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