Anne Notations

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Les mots justes

Last weekend a lovely woman who has come into my life said something that blew me away.  She gave me a gift out of wisdom and compassion, and I felt it slide instantly into an empty space I hadn't known was there... in my own heart.

You never know, people. You never know when a word or phrase will penetrate the surface of someone's breezy public persona and transform a moment into gold. It's human alchemy of the highest order.

There is no time like now to say good words to a friend or loved one. We all think we have forever: "Of course, when we're retired I'll let X know how he changed my life. And I'll tell Y that her decency and generosity inspired me to give to the less fortunate. I'll tell them – someday soon."

Guess what, friends. Today you could learn that X died suddenly of a heart attack. (That happened to me with a beloved great-uncle once. The long-delayed letter I sent him arrived in the Midwest a day after he died. I was ashamed and horrified to have procrastinated.) Today you could find out Y has moved to take a job 1,000 miles away and you're unlikely ever to see her again. Tonight you could sit down in the multiplex and have your head blown off by a deluded shooter wearing a gas mask.

Yes, you could. Any of us could.

So do it. Say it. It gets easier each time you share a positive thought:  "I look up to you. I admire your gift with children. Your patience and encouragement make weekdays a pleasure for your co-workers. Your volunteer work inspires me." Even something as simple as: "You are a sweet person. I'm glad I know you."

What did my friend say last week? She told me quite spontaneously, "Anne, I don't know if you realize that people are drawn to you."

Who knows if those words are true? (I'm inclined to be skeptical, thanks to my hyperactive inner critic.) The important thing wasn't the content of the remark but rather that my friend was moved to say it. Afterward, I carried the comment in my heart, like a pearl.

Thank you, M. I'll be paying that forward – now and in the days to come.


  • You're back! And brilliant as ever. I'm pretty good at telling people how important they are, and in what ways. But it's good to be reminded. Thank you for your gift of words. People are drawn to you. M's right.

    By Blogger Katherine Hinds, at Mon Jul 23, 08:06:00 PM EDT  

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