What if my words were gone?

[A] Randy Travis interview came on the radio while I drove home from work the other day.

It was recorded before his 2013 stroke, which almost cost him his life and has made communication more difficult than it once was for the singer of more than a dozen No. 1 songs.

This is less about Travis, though, than it is about the questions which creeped into my mind when I thought about how quickly things changed for him.

What if my words were gone?

What if, by some unfortunate circumstance, I were rendered unable to communicate at all?

Words have generally come easily to me, written ones especially.

Lessons learned with age have made me slower to speak, though often times not slow enough.

I’d like to think I choose my words more carefully now than I did when I was younger, but far too many times I still speak or type faster than I think.

Life has taught me communication is a gift.

What if the gift were taken from me and people were left with only what I shared in the past?

Would my words and actions be enough for all people to know they’re loved if I were no longer able to say or show it?

Have my words and actions always been used to help others?

Have they always pointed people to Jesus?

The answer to all of those questions above is no, and it’s up to me to change it.

It’s up to me to build people up, and never tear them down. It’s up to me to make sure my communication helps people see their value instead of my vices.

It’s up to me to converse without condemnation, and to befriend instead of bully. I have a personal responsibility to help instead of hurt, to be positive instead of pessimistic.

I have to show people it’s still possible to disagree without hate.

These days, I hear people talk about change all of the time.

The truth is, I have to take responsibility for myself before I can expect others to change.

Change starts with the way I talk to people and how I treat them.

It starts with me, and then it just may become we.

Communication is precious and powerful.

If we use it wisely, we can change our lives and we can change the world.

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