11: I hope that makes sense. #LifeWideLearning16

I once went to a the Denver Zen Center with my wife. We went for an introduction to meditation and to learn by attempting it ourselves. The building was absolutely beautiful, and as we sat in total silence on our zafus I came to the exact opposite realization than I had intended. Instead of clearing my mind of all words and thought, I found myself with words ringing in my head. So much so that they became visual and all I could see were the shapes of letters as they rattled around in my brain.

I need words. I need to write them and to read them. I need to know what they mean and how to find out more of them. I lie awake and type out my thoughts on a virtual keyboard behind my eyelids. I draw my signature with my fingers into tables. I drive distracted whenever a billboard shows up. I read the fine print on magazine ads.

Words are how I make meaning of my world. I need them to stay with me. For as long as I am living, I need to be able to make them with my mouth and share them with others. I need to be able to take them in or write them down.

If you were to ever study my emails, you would note that I write a single phrase in nearly each one. It isn’t in the signature or an introduction. Rather, I continually write, “I hope that makes sense.” I write this habitually because I have to know that my words mean something to someone else too, that I am not simply writing them to the void. I must prove that my words have impact with each message I share.

I fear this changing more than I fear losing a job or my house burning down. Were I to lose my words, I would lose myself. They are more than just my companions as I sit in a quiet room, they are the voice in my head telling me to move forward and create something new. They are the courage to have difficult conversations or ask for forgiveness. My words are supporting my sanity, and I hope that never changes.

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