Words have the power to lift our spirits, touch our hearts and soothe our minds when said with just the right inflection and tone. Sometimes all it takes is just a few well-formed words to have an impact. It is always nice to hear, “I’m so proud of you! “Great job!” “You look wonderful!” “You’re so smart!” “All your tests came back negative. You’ll be fine!” Positive words have the ability to carry one a long, long way as they touch the heart.
Sometimes words are not even necessary to be powerful. At times, a simple gesture– a wink, a nod is enough to convey a sincere message. I had a profound moment as my son was “launching off” to college two years ago. With hopeful anticipation for words I needed to hear, my parting remarks to him were, “I certainly hope you’re leaving with good memories of having had a great childhood.” He looked straight at me and flashed a huge grin and then he gave me a “two thumbs up!” A big bear hug followed. I was touched to the core and felt like the eighteen years of nurturing were all worthwhile just to see those thumbs of approval. I will carry the “two thumbs up” gesture as one of the most touching moments in my life.
Just the right words can resolve deeper issues quickly and effectively. A friend was going through a period of hypochondria and visited the doctor time and time again with different symptoms he considered potentially life threatening. Each time the doctor told him that he was fine. Searching for a way to relieve him from his concern, this perceptive doctor simply said, “Don’t worry son. You’re fine. Do you wear your seat belt? That’s the best thing you can do for your health.” He was cured by his doctor’s insightful words and his method of delivery.
Often times, all it takes are a just a few ardent words spoken that can cause one to straighten up and they have a lasting impact. When my son was in middle school I was attending the entertaining band concert that was being held in the gym. However, the bleachers offered no back support and a case of numbness and fanny fatigue began to overtake the pleasure. The friend who was sitting beside me and I began making plans to leave for awhile for comfort’s sake. Her intuitive husband overheard our plot and in a quiet, emphatic manner he said, “It’s just one night.” The power of four words was so profoundly true. We quit our whining and sucked it up a little longer knowing he was right.
Humorous words are as delightful, as well. Sometimes the words on people’s t-shirts have a way of summarizing all we really need to know about the essence of who they are. I saw an overweight man who was wearing a shirt that spelled out his daunting task of trying to lose weight in one simple sentence. It said, “My working out is just not working out.” He was walking with a lady whose shirt said, “I’d stop eating chocolate, but I’m no quitter.”
I saw a cute and quite rambunctious little boy whose shirt read, “Big trouble in a little shirt.” Enough said.
The words, “I love you” are probably the most powerful of all. It’s always nice to hear those words spoken, but it is also just as effective in the written word. While my father was in his last year of medical school in Chapel Hill, my mother was teaching the third grade in Raleigh. He used to come to visit her at her parent’s house in Raleigh for the weekends. They utilized every moment enjoying each other’s company for the short-lived weekend, before having to reenter the real world of separation once again. Therefore, Mondays were always the most difficult for them, as they missed each other so much. In order to eternally remember their lonely feelings on Mondays, they had engraved in each of their wedding bands, “Remember Mondays”‘”two simple, profound words to remind them of how valued their presence was to each other and their shared love'”the mighty inspirational merit of words that would last a lifetime. Wouldn’t Rudyard Kipling have approved of their using the drug of powerful words?