In the beginning was the Word,


and the Word was with God,


and the Word was God.


John 1:1


Words are important. Words build our world. Words give us power to navigate the world.


In the Beginning was the Word.


My memories go back a long way. I can remember crawling on the floor at my Grandma Byrd’s feet. I remember her only as a giant in an out-sized world. My memories are only in pictures. They are very dream-like. Because I had no words. She died in 1965 and I was born in 1962. I was only three; my memories could only be nuanced by the language skills of a three-year-old.


Language allows us to build scaffolding around memories to protect them, to explain them, to give them meaning. I’ve only been able to build that scaffolding after the time. Only later did I learn that my Grandma Byrd had cancer, and only much later did I learn it was Hodgkin’s Disease.


I can take those words, use them to learn, and from that gain a better understanding of what my grandmother’s life was like and the life of her family.


And the Word was with God.


In the Judeo-Christian tradition, God said, "Let there be light, and there was light." God spoke light into being. The Word was there with Him. He formed Man from dirt and then breathed his own breath into that dirt, so that Man was then able to give names to all the animals and to share in this divine attribute.


I’ve been present when our leaders at the university have spoken about the need for certain buildings; they’ve formulated plans; they’ve guided those plans into fruition with their words. Now we have those buildings. Man can create with the word.


At the suggestion of a friend, a word spoken in my ear, I’ve been going through the audiobook version of Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne. It is a history of the Comanche Wars, focusing on my fellow Okie, Quanah Parker.


Comanche is not a word from the Comanche language. It is a Ute word that means "enemy."


The Word was used to separate. We are us; and they are them; and they are our enemy. But the Utes were accurate in this case. On the other hand, the Comanche’s name for themselves is Numunu which means "the people;" this is also accurate. We are us, and they are them, so we will kill them. Numunu or Comanche, they didn’t have a lot of friends among their fellow indigenous peoples.


But the Word is also used to unite: Quanah Parker was an Okie and I am an Okie; we are tied by that Word.


Binding and loosing are both acts of creation.


And the Word was God.


Words change things. Words create things. But then how can the Word itself be created? It cannot. Words can be created, but the Word itself is eternal. "It was the same in the beginning with God."


We create with our words: Please let them be kind.


— Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com. He invites you to "like" the National Association of Lawn Mowers on Facebook.