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Point of View: Art takes over when words give out

Jan. 27, 2010

By Brittany Hardy

Last week I attended the Waco Symphony at Waco Hall. As the announcer stepped up to introduce the first piece, he mentioned that the following piece was world-renowned for being able to express emotions when words have run out. It was a piece played for the passing of great leaders and for overwhelming tragedies, seen most recently, with the devastation of Haiti.

As the melody of the first piece filled the hall and the slow, smooth sounds struck me and the people seated nearby, I began to fully comprehend the announcer's words. Music and art have ways of expressing feelings that exist outside of words. Similarly, these forms of expression are not limited to a certain language, but cross cultural barriers to a place where we are all unified under one simple concept: we are all human. We are humans who run out of words. We are humans who feel grief and passion in a way that busts through the limitations of words.

I absolutely believe in the power of words. I would estimate that I spend about 70 percent of my life reading or writing and I hope I am always this lucky. I have dedicated a great deal of passion, energy and time to learning how to work with words. Even if you don't plan to be a writer or publisher or even an avid reader, I believe words are absolutely vital and important in dealing with individuals.

However, as the announcer again stepped back into the wings of the stage and the music took over right where he had left off, I was overwhelmed by the reality that words are just that and there are ideas and emotions and feelings that escape their boundaries. Words are wonderful and useful and extremely powerful, but reading about goosebumps is not the same as feeling them. Experiencing a broken heart, the passing of a loved one, feeling the power of Jesus Christ: These things are not often entirely captured by words.

One of my roommates is a painting major, as is my grandma. Both of these women have been blessed with the amazing and slightly unexplainable talent to express feelings in a way that is completely different than words and numbers. Again, not to undercut the power of either of these more concrete tools, however some of the abstract perceptions that my roommate and grandmother are able to capture and present to their eagerly awaiting audiences go beyond the limits of words.

As the word bank runs dry and the restrictions of words are revealed, I'm deeply thankful that God has blessed people with the ability of expression in other forms. I'm thankful that many individuals utilize these gifts. Here's to you, artists of all kinds. I'm so very thankful for what you do.

Brittany Hardy is an Argyle junior majoring in journalism. She is the opinion editor for the Baylor Lariat.