Friday, December 12, 2014

How Much Of What We Say Is Wasted?

It was early morning. Much earlier than she would like to be awake and I understood...I had a late night the previous evening and I, too, was less than chipper.

She rarely spoke to me, as I cared for her, day after day after day. Her words were always slow and careful, taking incredible patience on any listener's part, to hear her one or two word responses. Generally, a gentle nod or shake of the head, was all you would get.

"Good morning", I said, as I proceeded about my business. I asked if she was in any pain and she slowly shook her head no. I continued on, when I noticed her mumbling something. 

I didn't catch what it was, so I crouched down, now putting us eye to eye and asked, "What did you say?"

"...I...appreciate...all...that...you...do..."

My eyes grew wide and I felt my breath catch in my throat.

This beautiful person, who rarely ever formed a sentence, just took the effort to acknowledge the role I played in her life. She not only noticed, but with incredible work, spoke six words, that I knew would forever change my life.

Speaking is something that most of us take for granted. We do it all day long. To our children. To our co-workers. To our partners. To our parents and friends and the cashier at the grocery store. To the mailman and the woman on the corner and the nurse at the doctor's office.

How much of what we say, is wasted? Wasted on anger or gossip or judgment? Wasted on arguments or stubbornness? Wasted on frustration or spur of the moment reactions, that we later regret?

We have the ability, most of us, to say anything we want, at any time. We have the ability to reassure the young mom in the grocery store, wrangling her screaming toddler, that we understand. We have the chance to tell our daughters how incredibly smart they are and how much we appreciate them. We have the capability of telling our sons we love them and how proud we are of them. We are fortunate enough to be able to use our voices to stand up for those, who cannot stand up for themselves. We have the time and the chance, every single day, to uplift and encourage and inspire those around us.

We choose, at any given moment, to use our words to help...or to use them to hurt.

How much of what we say...is wasted?