The extraordinary nature of such conceptual constructs cannot be long or seriously refuted. Whatever the anthropological origins of them; of the efficacy based upon quantity as opposed to quality; of whether some societies that lack the nuance of inflection, meaning or inherent force; and however they developed over time, incrementally building into greater heights of tenor, tone or tempestuous triggers of emotional upheavals —one cannot deny the power of words.
Words convey meaning, direction, instruction; touch emotions when utilized with sensitivity and care; and trigger images so powerful that they can break down the most stoic among us, and convey persuasion such that minds can be changed, actions can be reversed and lives can be altered.
One cannot say of them, “Oh, they’re just a bunch of words” and believe them without recognizing the times when a 911 call helped to save a life because of the calm “words” of the dispatcher, or of the marriage vow that cemented and elevated the mere utterances into a lifetime of fidelity; or of the baby’s first formations beyond the gurgling sounds emitted that identifies comprehension beyond an appetitive nature.
The power of words can uplift, denounce, alter the course of history and damage a young psyche beyond repair. The power of words can persuade, explain, instruct and describe, of the beauty of a sunrise beyond the meadows where butterflies float and flowers begin to disclose the radiance of the morning dew-droplets in the chasm of a waking mind, or of the sunset where sunlight is replaced by shadows within the hearts of young lovers projecting what the future might yet bring, yet contented in the embrace of warmth and merriment.
It is by words that civilizations rise and fall, and by which man is elevated above the apes, but yet remain just below the angels; and it is the power of words that brought us Shakespeare, Milton, Faulkner and Hemingway, and the quiet subtlety of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s politeness of society. Then, by contrast, there is life itself.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, this contrast is known and appreciated. Medical conditions betray the limitations of words; for, how can “pain” be adequately described? What good is a “diagnosis” beyond that which cannot be cured? How can one utilize the “power of words” to describe the despondency of Major Depression? And more to the point: How can one adequately convey by the power of words, the impact perpetrated by the medical condition upon the essential elements of one’s job?
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, remember always that there is a wide chasm between “having a medical condition” and being able to persuade OPM that the medical condition prevents you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your job.
And such persuasion, ultimately, is accomplished through the power of words.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire