My first recollection of struggling with words occurred when I was about eleven or twelve years old. Our neighbor Odell, who was like another mother to me, had become ill and needed surgery which required an extended stay in the hospital. After she returned home I remember that for days I avoided going to see her, ashamed and afraid because I didn’t know what to say. Finally my mother informed me that Odell wanted to see me. I desperately wanted to see her too, of course, but what would I say? The answer came when Odell met me at the door of her home and greeted me with an affectionate hug. If words were exchanged, I don’t remember them. She didn’t care about my words, you see, all she wanted was my presence. It was that simple.
Perhaps I’m a bit more courageous than I was when I was twelve, but finding the right words to say is still awkward to me. As a result I’ve spent a lot of money on Hallmark cards through the years. But I think often about the lesson I learned that day from my reunion with Odell, that it is not about saying the right words; rather, it is about being present, in communion with someone we care about.
Let me ask you something. Think about the last time you received a Hallmark greeting card. What meant more to you, the printed message on the card or the person who sent it to you? . . . Recall your last birthday party, large or small. What do you remember most vividly, the gifts, the cake – or the ones who were present?
What’s most important to you? Good question to consider next time you’re struggling with the right words to say.
Author: Dan Wilson.