Intense Power of Words

During the course of the Mother’s Day weekend here on the Bolivar Peninsula, we met many new friends at our 26th annual Crab Festival. We also connected with many people we had met during other events, meetings following Hurricane Ike’s assault on our area, and in the course of doing business week after week. It was pleasant just to be having fun and not involved in working on one project or another.

I have come to the conclusion that “down time,” however one likes to spend it, is super important to overall good health, a feeling of self-worth and the pure enjoyment of life. I also fear for so many of our younger friends struggling with building a career, making a living, taking children from one event to another, getting much too little rest and trying to be involved in dozens of good causes. I am thinking that their bodies, though strong and able now, will likely wear out, and illnesses will develop because they are doing so much.

Playing around and joking with trusted friends is a part of this “down time” I am referring to, and we were able to see and participate in a good deal of this over the weekend. Ted and I worked the entrance gate for four hours on Friday night ,and there were usually streams of people coming into the festival grounds. Some we knew quite well; others we met and got to know. On Saturday afternoon, we spent three solid hours in the Chamber of Commerce’s T-shirt booth selling shirts and hats and talking with friends who came by to visit. We were situated near the main stage and could keep up with the events taking place there — and hear the music.

Only two sad things marred an otherwise great weekend and it did not have to do with receiving or not receiving particular Mother’s Day gifts. A man who I honestly believe was trying to be humorous went a little too far, in my opinion, and the sad thing is, he did it in writing where hundreds of folks could chime in and tell him what they thought.It was reported that on Saturday morning, two people were driving on the beach near High Island on the peninsula in a black truck. The truck came to a stop and a shot rang out where beach goers could hear it clearly. When the first two ladies arrived at the truck, the male driver jumped out and said that his wife had pulled a handgun from under the seat and shot herself in the head. He claimed not to know she had the gun in the vehicle and claimed not to know why she would want to shoot herself on Mother’s Day weekend. She was later pronounced dead at the scene. A report from the Chambers County Sheriff’s Department said that the male driver was arrested for outstanding warrants and taken to jail.

Several different rumors immediately swirled around the sad story. Some automatically decided that they believed the woman did not shoot herself, but that the husband or the partner had done it. Others said that she was probably depressed over the Mother’s Day weekend because she had children she would not see. Others said that no mother would ever kill herself on such a holiday. Several folks commented that when one is so sad that they are contemplating suicide, rational thoughts are long gone. For whatever reason, suicide or murder, both are sad.

Truthfully, we do not know what caused the shooting or who pulled the trigger. The investigation is still underway. The entire event struck me as very sad because of the location, the desperation, the death, and the hurt and harm it will cause to loved ones of both parties. And it happened just a few miles from where a great crowd of family members and friends were having such a good time visiting, eating, buying from the craft booths and listening to the music provided on the main stage of the Crab Festival.One man writing on one of the Yahoo Group Sites following the accident said what he thought about the circumstances, though he knew no more and probably less than most readers did about it, but then he chose to add what many have called the final blow. He said he could never commit suicide because he would be leaving his “damaged goods” (referring to his wife of many years) for someone else to take care of after he was gone. He went on to say that he and his wife had four children and “what man would want to take on damaged goods and four kids to raise?”

The older I get, the less frequently my hackles rise, but reading this, I was angered. What man in his right mind would call his own wife “damaged goods” in print on Mother’s Day mind would call his own wife “damaged goods” in print on Mother’s Day weekend simply because she had born him four children. Thank God there are hundreds of good men who do not feel this way about a woman with children. My step-dad would have fallen into this category, and I know this to be a fact because I was fortunate enough to marry one.

In only minutes after the original post was read, people began to respond and I am so pleased to note that many of the most angry responses came from men. One man wrote and said, “What kind of remark is that when you are speaking about someone you promised to love and nurture and care for all the days of your life?” Another wrote to say that the comment could bring nothing positive and had to be hurtful. A kind woman wrote to say that the father she loved dearly did not think like this man. He married her young mother when she was alone with four children to rear and that he had been the guiding force of their life. Only one person wrote to say he was probably just kidding.Even if he were kidding, or trying desperately to be very funny, he missed the mark and was not humorous a bit, in my opinion. His wife had to feel the pang and sting of the remark. I thought of several verses of Scripture and wondered how much home training this man had ever had.

Reading in the Book of Proverbs, there are two verses, one following the other, that address this issue. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord” (Proverbs 18:21, 22). We must learn to be cautious with our words and not use them in silliness, in and effort to be thought funny, or to hurt and harm.