Let’s Talk Sticks And Stones

Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you…unless you believe them. Then, they can destroy you.” Charles F. Glassman

Twigs To Trunks


The twigs are sticking out from the flexible green stems along the barely worn wooded path to the wild berry bushes, nestled just far enough from the main trail to remain mostly untouched, prick my bare legs, causing more annoyance than pain. I look down and see tiny red spots marking the irritation. I make a mental note to wear more suitable berry-picking pants for future basket filling.

Humiliation and Criticism

The branch slapped me hard across the face as it sprung back into place. Through watery eyes, I looked at my boorish hiking partner in disbelief, finding his casual thoughtlessness mind-boggling as he let go of the branch without warning resulting in me missing the opportunity to save my face. I feel my cheeks get warmer from the branch’s sting and my rising anger. He ambled on as if nothing was awry.

Yelling, Screaming, Swearing

The pain was immediate. I could hear the snap of my bone breaking in two, or at least I hoped only two pieces. The ferocity of the wind and rain was staggering. The warning crack of the large overhead bough had suppressed the storm noise for just a moment, allowing me to twist my body at the last second, avoiding a head injury or, worse, taking the brunt force of the falling bough with my shoulder. I did not even attempt to hold back tears as I cradled the elbow of my injured shoulder and arm close to my body and stumbled to find shelter.


I never heard the warning call over the constant din of tree-felling equipment. In a single heartbeat, the wind is knocked out of me; I am pinned, on my back, to the ground, nauseating pain shrieking at me from every receptor in my body. I fight to move, but it is no use; the trunk had come down fast, screaming at me like a rumbling freight train, laying me on the tracks, immobile, watching the bright white light draw nearer and nearer.

Pebbles to Boulders


I smile as I drive out of the car wash bay. I know, without looking, my car looks stunning. The mirrored reflection of my surroundings bounces off the gloss black backdrop. I find myself humming to the tune on the radio as my hair gets blown in every direction from the wind through the moonroof. I turn onto the gravel road, where a mile in and up the driveway, I can pull into the garage and keep my car shiny another day. I drive slowly, trying to avoid a dust storm behind me from the lack of rain. I see a delivery truck approaching in the opposite direction. I slow down to share the road; he does not. I hear the tiny pebbles skimming off the road and lighting pinging the side of my car. I park my car and bend down to inspect the damage. Pleasantly surprised but still abundantly annoyed, I feel nothing but smooth finish as I slowly run my hands along the bottom of the driver’s side door.

Humiliation and Criticism

I drive, but it doesn’t seem fast enough. Traffic is heavy this time of day. Mile after long mile, I anticipate the meeting. I find myself almost giddy as I realize that in two short exits and just a few minutes, I will embrace my friend. It has been a long time, much too long. The smack of the stone hitting the windshield directly in my vision quickly snaps me out of my musing. I can see the large pit in the glass staring right back at me, dampening my spirits. I take the last exit and navigate the narrow city streets to my destination, to my friend, still stewing.

Yelling, Screaming, Swearing

The blue tarp on the trailer danced around wildly as the truck driver sped past me. Driving much too fast for the loose rock load he was hauling, the trailer swerved uncontrollably as he pulled back into the lane directly in front of me. It was too much, too fast. Rocks hurled out from underneath the insecurely strapped tarp and came straight at me like missiles from a launcher. I gasped and braked hard and jerked the wheel to the left in a futile attempt to avoid the projectiles. The impact of the rock against the passenger side of my car causes my head to slam against the driver’s door window. Even with my head reeling, I knew the damage was significant, and there was no getting out of here without a tow truck.


I ignore the danger, too involved in the journey to heed any warning signs. I drive the winding road without caution, enjoy the curves, the speed, the warm breeze hitting my face, and the taste of the salty ocean air on my lips. With the open-air whirring in my ears and the music from my favorite playlist blaring, I never hear the rumble and boom as the boulder makes its way quickly and thunderously down the cliff. In a moment, I find myself careening down the embankment, boulder in hot pursuit and landing driver’s side planted against the sand with the boulder keeping me wedged and immobile, praying for another passerby to see the trail of destruction.

“But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.” – -James 3:8 NASB1995

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