After a long long time of quiet and seclusion, I have begun to talk to my friends again. I have begun to have conversations with my children and my husband, about things that matter to me, and things that matter to them. We are all telling our stories, and figuring out how they intersect and overlay one another.
It has struck me recently, how our words have such weight. When a loved one sits across from us at a table in a coffee shop, or beside us on a long drive, perhaps in that place they will know that it is right to unburden themselves. I never forget these sacred moments, as other souls invite me to stand inside their worlds, their skins, just for that brief time.
What I often do forget, is how I responded. What words I said in response to the sharing of a heart. But those words that trickle out of my brain like water through a strainer, stay in the minds and hearts of the person opposite me. In the last several weeks I have heard this phrase a number of times, "Do you remember what you said to me?" Five, ten, twenty years ago. And I have to confess that no, I do not. I remember you. I remember your face, your voice as you told your story, the cups on the table between us, but I do not remember what I said to you.
Please, please let it have been gentle and kind. If nothing else, let it have been kind.
And then the person will recite back to me what I said to them in that moment, and I recognize the familiar cadence of my own words and thought patterns. And I realize this. Our words have such weight, that people will carry them for years. They will take them out and turn them over in their hands, and feel their shape.
Please, please let me be gentle and kind. If nothing else, let me be kind.