A Card Without Words

I recently read on a shampoo bottle that women speak an average of 7,000 words per day, and men speak a mere 2,500.  At first I scoffed at the moronic idea of printing trivial facts on a shampoo bottle. No one is actually going to stand there in the shower and read while they’re washing their hair.  Except that’s exactly what I was doing, so I guess my theory followed the shampoo right down the drain.

Seven thousand words, ladies?  Really?  If a picture is really worth a thousand words, then a woman could just draw seven pictures per day and save everyone a lot of hot air.  It’s no wonder women love the game Pictionary.  All of those pictures represent a plethora of words, and God knows we love our words. 

Why do women love getting greeting cards?  Words.  When men shop for greeting cards, they choose one with gratefulness that the card company has already paid people to express their feelings eloquently.  They can sign the card with confidence that they have not said anything wrong that will get them into hot water.  Love, Jim.  Women, on the other hand, feel the need to elaborate.  It’s like we completely ignore everything that was just said on the card and need to put it into our own words.  Maybe we don’t want to be one-upped by the card writer. Yes, I know this card already says how much I love you, but let me just tell you in seven thousand words.

Ecclesiastes 5:2

… God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.

My children are young, so they make their own cards with construction paper and markers.  While making a card for Father’s Day, my five-year-old struggled to write all that he wanted to say to his Daddy from his heart.  He was just learning to write his letters, and as he made mistakes, he would crumple the paper into a ball and angrily throw it across the room. Signs of a future writer. After much frustration, he decided to focus on the picture.  I was expecting his usual barely recognizable picture, the one where I’ve learned not to even try to guess what it is for fear of hurting his feelings.  That’s a really good three-headed alien.- No, Mommy; it’s me!

When he called me over to look at his picture, I knew this time would be different.  He had a determination on his face when he was drawing, accompanied by an unprecedented effort.  On blue construction paper, he had drawn a simple picture. The sun was shining, and two smiling stick figures, one tall and one short, were walking on large rocks at the beach.  A clear representation of the many days that my husband puts all else aside and spends quality time with our children. This picture screamed a deep love of a boy for his father.  He couldn’t write the words, but the message was clear:  “Daddy, I love when you spend time with me.”  I fought back the tears, but the lump in my throat left me speechless.  Sometimes words are inadequate. 

God gave us words to be able to communicate, but he also warns about using those words carefully.  Words are supposed to be precious and wisely selected.  Words should be incisive, cutting the heart with precision and truth. 

  •        When words are many, sin is not absent… Proverbs 10:19 
  •         A man of knowledge uses words with restraint… Proverbs 17:27
  •         Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent….Proverbs 17:28

I could understand my son’s frustration with not being able to express himself adequately.  But some day he will learn what he unknowingly taught me that day. There are those who can write a card with a hundred flowery words and mean nothing.  Then there are those who can write a card without words. 





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