Words break hearts

Image courtesy of quotesvalley.com

Image courtesy of quotesvalley.com

I remember the first time I uttered those words…

We were playing Red Rover (you remember how it goes:  “Red rover, red rover, send [insert name] over)”.

One the of the boys from the other team broke through my linked hands with the girl next to me, then took away the best boy from our team.

During his mad dash through our clenched hands, one of my fingers was hurt.  I almost started to cry.  He called me a baby and mimicked my squeeze-back-the-tears face to which I replied:

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”

He stuck out his tongue at me.

And the game continued.

Recently, I’ve thought about those fateful words.

Recently, I’ve come to the following conclusion:

They are a




I have been called many things: most were untrue, some were dead on, but all were hurtful…maybe more so than the sticks and stones, which leave marks that, over time, fade and, more than often, disappear.  Words, however; especially the toxic, cruel, and emotionally disfiguring variety; seep beyond the flesh to the heart and soul of us and reside there, if allowed, for a lifetime.

Some things said to or about me in anger or disdain I’ve forgotten to remember or simply let go of.  But there are a select few which play over and over again on my heart recorder and, after all this time, still have the power to wound.

To cause doubt.


To cause shame.

With the now international attention given to bullying, I’ve questioned my thoughts as both a victim and as a perpetrator.

I don’t remember ever intentionally being cruel or singling out any specific person, but memories of our own ugliness tend to be less searing than the ugliness of others, so I suppose I did and have.

I may just have been oblivious, but bullying back then seemed to be on another, much lesser, level.

Victims didn’t take their own lives


they didn’t take the lives of others.

I do remember a girl being taunted by a group of boys on Senior Sleepover Night in the parking lot of our high school.  She had been outspoken and brave condemning underage drinking when most our age just succumbed to it.  Her car was mobbed that night.  It was doused with beer, pelted with cans and then urinated on.

She must have been traumatized.

They must have been given a slap on the wrists (if memory serves me right, they didn’t walk in graduation).

No lives lost.

No lives ruined.

I don’t remember suicide attempts or threats.  I don’t remember fourteen-year-olds being charged with aggravated stalking.  I don’t remember eight-year-olds hanging themselves from trees.  I don’t remember twelve-year-olds jumping off silos.  I don’t remember ever hearing the word bullycide.  And I certainly don’t remember being afraid to go to school.

Probably because I wasn’t.

I had that luxury.

The luxury of going to school to learn.

The luxury of not worrying that I wouldn’t make it home because I disagreed with someone, looked at them the wrong way or, Heaven forbid, won the attention of a boy to whom someone else had laid claim.

A luxury that kids today don’t have.

Over dinner last night, my husband voiced his concerns about having a child in today’s world.  How he’d feel selfish bringing a little one into such a mess of violence and injustice just for the sake of having someone call him Daddy.

I disagreed.

We’re broken.


We all are.

We’re broken people raising other people that, in their own ways, will be broken too.

But, isn’t that the beauty of things?

 That we’re broken and through each new day, each new experience and our interaction with others we can learn, grow and attain the tools necessary to do better and thus be better?

I don’t believe that most people are horrible, vicious, heartless sub-humans.

I can’t allow myself to believe that.

If I did…

what’s the point of living such a life?

If there is no good?

If I don’t believe that people are better than the circumstances in which they’re born or which they simply or not so simply create?

I don’t pretend to know much about much, but I’d like to think that I know people.

That, more often than not, I see things, at the heart level, that others miss.

So p.l.e.a.s.e.

let’s be more vigilant with the thoughts that are planted in the soil of our minds and hearts.

It is from there that the words come.

And it is precisely there that the heartbreak stays.

  One thought on “Words break hearts

  1. Sherry Beren
    October 23, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    You would be great at lecturing about bullying in schools. You are a beautiful writer. Every generation will have their sticks and stones in so many ways. It is sad, but we cannot save people from hurting from any act of other people. I so look forward to reading bloomingspiders.

    • October 28, 2013 at 2:47 am

      Thank you for your kindness, Sherry. I’m glad you’re staying tuned and hope you continue to find things of interest to you here.

  2. October 24, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    You worded this so beautifully. I agree with so much that you say it’s almost as if you looked into my own heart.

    • October 28, 2013 at 2:48 am

      What a beautiful comment, Heather. Thank you.

  3. October 24, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Reblogged this on Coffee Love & Jesus and commented:
    I have been wanting to write something of this sort but she worded this so beautifully and honest. Words do hurt and haunt.

    • October 28, 2013 at 2:49 am

      Thank you for this, Heather. So sweet of you.

  4. samanthatimms1
    October 24, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Beautifully written, interesting and true in what you have written. I agree completely , when I look back at bully, I certainly see and believe in what yourself sees, I’m sure there’s many out there who feel the same. It is a shame society today, and your blog made me reflect on that, thank you. As I mentioned before, beautifully written, t was a pleasure stumbling across your page.

  5. October 28, 2013 at 2:50 am

    Thank you for this. I appreciate your visit, as well as your sentiments.

  6. October 28, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    I truly agree that words hurt deeply! You remember it for a long time and if you allow it to fester it could taint your outlook perhaps even for life. This is why we have to let the hurt pass, forgive the perpetrator and let Jesus heal the pain.

    I love the quote and picture. What a beautiful way to express it. Truly as the song says, “Tears are a Language God Understands.

    Thank you for the like and the follow on my blog. I appreciate it.

  7. October 28, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    And thank you for taking the time to visit, Nin.

    It is much appreciated.

  8. October 28, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    Wow. Very beautifully written. Profound, poignant and truthful.

    • October 29, 2013 at 3:22 am

      Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and for using such lovely words to describe mine.

  9. October 29, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Glad you stopped by my place and now it is my turn. Lovely place you have here. You write beautifully on important topics. I’m following you and look forward to your next posts.
    I am 54 and was horribly bullied most of my grade school years. It is gone but not forgotten.

    • October 31, 2013 at 1:40 am

      Thank you, Patti. I appreciate the follow and your sweet words.

      I’m sorry to hear that you were bullied.

      Such heartache stays fresh.

      It. really. does.

  10. October 30, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Beautiful post.

  11. October 31, 2013 at 4:19 am

    Wonderful post and so true. Words do hurt…

  12. Jenae
    October 31, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    How powerful your words are. They create a soulful picture that your whole audience can experience.

    The realm of public speaking would be blessed by your message!

    • November 1, 2013 at 1:46 am

      I don’t know about that, love, but I love you for saying it.

      Thanks for staying tuned!!

  13. November 6, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Lovely piece. Thanks for posting.

  14. November 10, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Dani, thanks for this blog post. A colleague of mine just published a great book called Unbullyable. You might be interested.
    Thank you for finding and liking my blog.

    • November 10, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      Nathalie, I will certainly check it out.

      Thank you for the tip and for dropping by.

  15. November 11, 2013 at 5:51 am

    My husband and I were having a conversation along very similar lines last night after watching a 60 Minutes segment on bullying in the digital era. He commented that bullying was nowhere near as prevalent when he was growing up as it is now. I think one of the fundamental issues now is that social media gives bullies 24-7 access to their targets’ lives. When we were kids, home was a sanctuary from which to escape the bullying, now there’s no escape – a text message here, a Facebook status there, bombarding the victim with the message that he/she isn’t good enough. Raising five girls, I wish I knew what the solution is!

    • November 11, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      Me too, Emma.

      I think it all resorts back to the issue of brokenness. People who are loved/honored and who love/honor themselves don’t bully. Yet since we’re broken people…our brokenness is magnified in the treatment of others and ourselves. In my head and heart, it is a vicious cycle.

      A horribly, vicious one.

      Prayers of protection upon your family…especially your girls.

  16. November 13, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I remember a day my daughter came to me sobbing because of cruel words said to her by her closest friend at the ripe old age of seven. I’m not sure what I said to her as I dealt with my own pain on her behalf. Later I spoke with my mother on the phone. She calmly explained that Nikki would have many moments like this in the future, some minor and some more serious. She told me it was not my job not to protect her from these life events but to put them into perspective and teach her how to deal with them, that I would not always be there to ‘save the day’. Of course I was angry at her nonchalance. It seemed like my childhood repeating itself; a mother that never understood the pain, never wanting to deal with the issues at hand.

    The route I finally decided upon was helping Nikki deal with it while teaching her to value her own worth when others did not. I acknowledge her pain in conjunction with evaluating the seriousness of the transgression in realistic terms so she would understand that it does get much worse but that would not diminish who she was or would become.

    Who she has become is an incredible young woman who’s life is geared towards changing the world and improving the lives of others. She is currently in India doing watershed research with her finance. Last year they built a bridge in Nicaragua with Bridges for Prosperity. The year before that is was building guinea pig cages in Peru. She knows who she is, what she wants out of life. She has the strength, knowledge and willpower to achieve her goals. Nikki has gotten to this point from the ‘sticks and stones’ tossed before her, learning which ones to gather wisdom from, which to step over or crush beneath her tread. Because you recognize these issues before they occur, you too will have what is required, when it is required, to help your child through the maze. Trust yourself. You have what it takes.

    • November 13, 2013 at 7:35 pm

      Thank you for this, Wendy. It sure sounds like Nikki was able to rise above the noise, which oftentimes is quite challenging to do.

      I’m sure you’re thrilled to have such a daughter. Hopefully, she’s thrilled to have such a mother.

      • November 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm

        It sounds to me like you can be just as blessed. Parenting is difficult these days but the rewards are priceless. That’s how we feel about both of our kids, priceless wonders we were gifted with to bring into this world.

  17. Amanda
    November 17, 2013 at 1:31 am

    I remember when I was a kid listening to a talk titled “Your Name is Safe in My House”. I have always tried to honor this since that tame no matter how mean or cruel a person was. It’s a principle I hold dear because it allows me in the end so much more emotional freedom than people who gossip a lot and harbor ill feelings toward another. I am not perfect. I screw up often my kids will testify to that well maybe they don’t say mean things about other people either, chores might be a struggle school work a challenge but when it comes to speaking nice they usually do quite well other than the normal getting on each others nerves that kids do.lll So remember this if you remember anything at all when someone comes to you , is your friend, enemy whatever make sure their name, is safe, in your house.

    • November 17, 2013 at 1:35 am

      Thanks for visiting, Amanda.

      Words to live by…

  18. December 14, 2013 at 6:20 am

    Nice post and so true. Thanks for visiting my blog and liking my post.

    • December 14, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      You are most welcome!

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