Words are Sacred

I visited my 86 year old uncle yesterday.

From the moment I entered his house, I knew something was up. He didn’t sit in his chair, command central. Instead, he cuddled close beside me on the couch, leg to leg, hand in hand.

The doctor’s report had not been good.

He had spoken words like kidney failure, hospice, and death.

My uncle- the one full of spit and vinegar- had a tear in his eye and a tremble in his voice. I’d never seen him afraid before.

“Nobody is going to tell me when to die!” he said. “I’ll die when I’m good and ready and not a minute before!”

“This I know,” I chuckled.

For a moment he steered the conversation to lighter fare. How were the kids? How was John? Was I ready for my birthday and how on earth did I get so old anyway? And how did he get so old? How did we get here?

He didn’t have to elaborate on where “here” was. We both knew.

I looked at my uncle. Mind still as sharp and quick-witted as ever. The will to get up and work every day of his life still present. Very much wanting to live and go and do and make new friends. But trapped in a body that has betrayed him.

The moment held an intimacy and vulnerability that I can’t express and wouldn’t even if I could. All I know is that every word we shared was sacred and we both knew it.

Unlike the social media jibberish I read every day, these words held weight. They counted. They mattered. They were words he will carry into eternity and words I’ll remember when he’s gone.

At two in the morning I jolted awake, remembering the conversation with my uncle.

I thought about words, their value, how they impact lives.


God used words to create everything from the tiniest atom to the glorious galaxies beyond man’s reach.

Proverbs tells us that life and death are in the power of the tongue- our words.

The Word of God took on flesh and blood and dwelt among us, eventually dying on a cross for our sin.

And it was through the confession of words that I received eternal life in Jesus Christ.

Words are powerful stuff. I always want to remember that fact.

I want to remember that words count.

Words matter.

I must use them wisely.

Because words are sacred.

Writing  Prompt:  Write about a powerful experience you had with words. Explore not only what was said, but the impact of the words and what made them so powerful.

Image credit: Bob Jenkin

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  1. Thanks Bonita, words are sacred and powerful, the stuff of change , cause, effect and memories.

    • So true, Ed!

      • Teresa Davis says:

        A touching story to illustrate the truth of realizing the sacredness of words.
        Beautiful writing, Bonita.
        I love that you gave your uncle the gift of your presence, care and your words. Your visit will carry him through the next days, no doubt.
        Thank you for sharing.