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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Only Words?

by Silvia Uribe

Words are never only words. Words, although very common, are also like magic tools to communicate thoughts that have no color, no form, no smell, and transform these into something concrete, something that we can imagine, and almost touch.

We also use words to dress our feelings. Sometimes we dress them up with distinction and elegance, and other times with rather simple, everyday attire. Words allow us to reveal what’s in our heart, and by doing this, they assist us in understanding, and in bringing us close to one another.

Words are also like a double-edged sword. They can hurt when we are careless, but when used with tenderness, they work like unexpected healers. They can make us laugh or cry. They can surprise us or make us bored. They can open our mind to imagine great things, or they can make it very narrow. They are the golden key to open other people’s heart, inviting them to share their dreams, and their fears. Words are so powerful that even when unspoken, their mere absence may reveal what we’re trying to hide.

As with any other tool, we should be handling them with care, always taking responsibility for how we use them.

We shouldn’t make another person feel bad and then pretend that we were only joking. We should not lie, and try to make the other person responsible for not knowing the truth. By the same token, we should not give ill intended advice, or invite violence and declare, when violence erupts, that we were not its source.

Our words, then, should be used with care. Our family and our friends, as well as our acquaintances, just like any other person, deserve that we consider the way we use words particularly, when our racing emotions attempt to get the best of us. Although it may seem extremely difficult, it is in these situations when we should take greater control of our words, considering that once they come out of our mouth, their effect is irreversible. We can apologize, and we can be forgiven, but hurtful words will never be forgotten. In fact, words will stay in our minds as perpetual reminders of love or hate, happiness or pain, violence or peace.

Following this advice will bring immediate benefits to our everyday life. By extension, the words we choose along our journey, will determine whether we will end our days in the company of those whom we love, or in excruciating solitude.

The choice is ours.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Debate Over A Deadly Bridge

By Silvia Uribe

This is the story of a bridge over which a huge dispute has erupted and continued for years now. The yeast of the argument is not that uncommon, if you think about it: beauty vs. practicality.

Some, don’t want to disrupt the beautiful view that we can enjoy while traveling through the bridge, while others emphatically argue that the benefit of the barrier surpasses anything else.

I’ve heard all sorts of well thought-out reasons on both sides, interesting points all of them, but the question remains: should the Cold Springs bridge barrier be finished?

As true as it is that many desperate souls have made the decision to take their own life by jumping off the bridge, it is a fact that if they don’t jump off the bridge, they could probably find another door knob to turn, and take the false gate to solving their problems. The key word here is “probably” keep that in mind.

However, being the practical woman that I am, I completely support the barrier. Here is why.

a) Nature has already been disrupted by the mere construction of the bridge that’s already there, but because it serves many of us to go through the pass, we didn’t oppose it. Many were benefitted by it, and that was a practical decision.

b) The barrier in dispute will be translucent and won’t stop our view of the valley, and

c) With the barrier, the bridge won’t represent such an easy path for those who want to end their lives, and by obstructing and delaying their intention, the barrier might just save those lives.

I’ve worn and still wear many hats in life. Working with victims of crime is one thing that has taught me a lot. Many of these victims, had great difficulties in dealing with the consequences of such crimes, and several - more than one would like to think- consider suicide. From them I’ve learned that it only took someone listening to them, or making a verbal contract for them to snap out of the moment, and realize that there are other alternatives.

Not because someone tries, or thinks about committing suicide they are condemned to do so. So, not everyone who considers jumping off the bridge will look for an alternative to accomplishing the same purpose.

To me, natural beauty and life are one and the same. We cannot care and preserve the former if we don’t care and preserve the latter. If someone is not there to enjoy nature, what’s the value of its beauty? By the same token, enjoyment should not fly in the face of life preservation.

Consider this: If your loved one were at risk of committing suicide – and we know that the bridge is a magnet in those cases – would you choose the practical solution of the barrier, or would you choose to preserve the view instead?