Speaking words

Speaking Words of Love
Often we remain silent when we need to speak. Without words, it is hard to love well. When we say to our parents, children, lovers, or friends: "I love you very much" or "I care for you" or "I think of you often" or "You are my greatest gift," we choose to give life.

It is not always easy to express our love directly in words. But whenever we do, we discover we have offered a blessing that will be long remembered. When a son can say to his father, "Dad, I love you," and when a mother can say to her daughter, "Child, I love you," a whole new blessed place can be opened up, a space where it is good to dwell. Indeed, words have the power to create life.

From Henri Nouwen via


I don’t come up with quite the quality of words that Nouwen did.  But I recognize that even my words are important.  As I speak them I am either speaking love to people or, well I guess the opposite is hate.  I always hope my words are not quite so strongly negative to be taken as hateful but I know that when I speak words quickly, without thinking, without caring about the person I speak them to, they can hurt.  There are occaisions when I deliberately say things to hurt another in anger. 

I always end up regretting those angry words.  And they can’t be taken back.  I can try to make amends for them but I can never really take them back.

I was reflecting on my day yesterday – a pretty normal day at work.  There were lots of patients that forgot their appointments and one mother bringing her child for sedation who confessed that her child had had some cereal and juice that morning – which means they are automatically cancelled for safety reasons. 

Sometimes I regret that I am not more of a person of words.  But I wonder if angry words would come more easily then too.  It would not have been helpful to the child in pain for me to berate her mother with words.  It would not have been helpful to the three young women who came in with far too much decay to berate them and make them feel belittled.  They would have left with a message but it would likely have been that they weren’t worth much in my eyes.

Their worth in my eyes – hmmm.  I need to remember that each one, each person is loved by the one who lovves me most as well.  God never drives us away because we have not met his expectations – because we can’t really.  And he just keeps loving us anyway, delighting in what we do accomplish. 

And my family; I am glad that I can express my love to them in words.  And in hugs.  And in time spent with them.  I hope they learn to do the same with their children – even when the kids don’t want them around.  Just keep on loving and finding occaisions to say it with actions or with words.

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