“Son, you’re a big, fat slob! You’d better quit eating like that!” Those were the words spoken by the father of a friend when he came home for a Christmas party during his freshman year of college. He had gained 35 pounds his first semester. As he merrily bit into the smorgasbord of caloric delights, specifically a cream cheese delight spread with ample amounts of pepper jelly, his father abruptly ended his gluttonous glee with his frank words.
Words are powerful, especially well-timed ones. His words were spoken out of concern for his son’s shocking transformation. Bluntly honest words, if received with an open mind, can whip one into shape — so to speak. He began the process of becoming his smaller, healthier self soon thereafter.
Words have the capacity to life people’s spirits, touch hearts and soothe minds when said with just the right inflection and tone. It’s nice to hear, “Great job!” “You’re so smart!” “All your tests came back negative. See you in a year!”
Insightful words can have an imperishable impact. I was at an entertaining school band concert once. However, the bleachers offered no back support and a case of numbness and fanny fatigue began to overtake the pleasure. I and the friend beside me began plotting a way to leave for a while for comfort’s sake.Her intuitive husband overheard our plot. In a quiet, emphatic manner, he said, “It’s just one night.” How profound, simple and true. We quit our whining and sucked it up a little longer — since it was just one night.
Just the right words can resolve deeper issues quickly and effectively. A friend (actually it’s the same big, fat slob from the first paragraph) was going through a period of hypochondria. He repeatedly visited the doctor with different symptoms he considered to be life threatening. Each time the doctor told him that he was fine.
He was searching for a way to relieve him from his concern, so his 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.
Works can evoke a paramount supply of emotions. However, the words that express love are, by far, the most powerful of all. The words “I love you” are beautiful in any language and make everything all right.
My father was a pathologist. He worked in a hospital lab where he diagnosed tumors and tissues for possible malignancies. He stored “such things” in jars that were carefully labeled. When I was a teenager, he asked me if I would like to work for him for the summer. The job? Throwing away tissue that had already been examined. The only occupational hazard I could see was breathing in the formaldehyde fumes. I decided to just hold my nose and throw it away real, real fast! It was worth the risk for the whopping pay of 75 cents an hour. My father specifically told me to only discard the jars labeled up to 1973. My only instructions were that I was to never throw away anything after that date. Sounded cinchy enough! Or so I thought!
Shorty thereafter, I made a “throwing away boo-boo” when I accidentally threw away a 1974. My fear was that some poor person was going to have to be brought in for repeat surgery. Even worse, what if I had thrown away the only tissue that could identify his potential horrible disease? How was I ever going to be able to tell my father what I had done? The fumes weren’t the occupational hazard. I was!
That night, I got up my nerve and in the midst of pitiful tears I blabbered out, “Oh, Daddy, I threw away a 1974! I’m soooo sorry! He then gently hugged me and spoke the most beautiful and powerful words, as he said, “It’s all right. Don’t worry. I love you!” Apparently he had left room for just such an error. Perhaps, a decade?
I loved him, too. And everything was alright.
As the author George Eliot once said, “I like not only to be loved, but to be told I am loved.”
Ahhh — the mighty power of words!