“Words have meanings.” Who else but a preacher would say that? Mindful, meaningful words, words spoken from the heart to touch someone’s soul.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” you kindly express to a newly made widow. She replies, “What are you sorry for? You didn’t cause it.” You’re taken back because regretful words are given back to your comforting words. Was it her grief that explains her sharp response? Of course, it is.
How many times have our words jumped out of our mouths because they failed the three principles of speaking: “filtered first through your mind, then quality tested through your soul and then genuinely released through words easily flowing from your mouth.”
I’m almost done since I’m running out of words. What more words do I need to say about the healings Jesus performs for us today in the gospel. A mother-in-law? Who even likes them? Possessed by demons? We all have one or two of them actively living within us.
Sunset arrives and Jesus quotes the rock group, “The Animals,” singing, “We gotta get out of this place…” So Jesus finds a new town and does his healing all over again.
Last week, a friend of mine emailed for advice. His daughter’s mother-in-law was diagnosed with thyroid cancer (a Jewish canter). She’ll need surgery. She sent my friend a consoling letter when his dad died a few months ago. He asked me, “How should I say to her?” I responded, “With the same consolation and hope that she offered you during your difficult time.” This is not rocket science, folks. This is two people trying to communicate with each other with our only available tool: words. (With our lingering virus, hugs are frowned upon.)
Words. Meaningful words. The words spoke no matter what? “I know what you’re going through.” What’s the subject of that sad sentence? So, who’s the attention on? Those people should forget using words and just bake a casserole for the family. (Sometimes, wordless words make a difference.)
Or, you could be the pragmatist like Job, and proclaim to the newly made widow, You know lady, “life on earth is a drudgery…so I have assigned months of misery, and troubled nights have been allotted to me…I shall not see happiness again.” So much for your Christmas card from her next year.
Final mindless words? Unless you really, really mean it, never say at a funeral, “if you ever need anything…” She just may call you about a down payment on a condo in Boca Rotan, Florida.
Mindful, meaningful words, words spoken from the heart to touch someone’s soul.