Last year about this time I went to a luncheon at the home of my childhood friend, Molly. Though we don’t see each other much we exchange gifts on birthdays and Christmas.
Upon my arrival she gave me a tour so I could view all the changes she’d made since my last visit.
Several times during the house tour she stopped and said, do you remember, and then pointed to an object I had given her as a Christmas gift – an angel, a candle, a monogrammed towel. I was surprised she remembered each one and also the year it was given.
I nodded graciously each time she proudly pointed out a gift. Though I gave each gift careful consideration at the time I chose them, I didn’t recall them then. But Molly remembered each one with fondness.
I went home that afternoon and looked around my own home. I noticed I could do the same thing. I could point out all the gifts friends had given me. Each one held a special memory.
Sweet treasures to be remembered.
Our words are gifts too. And every day we give them. Some are carefully thought out. Some are hastily thrown out.
I’ve spoken more than my share of words that I wish had been forgotten.
Proverbs 12:8 says, “There are those who speak rashly, like the piercing of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing”.
A few months after the luncheon my husband David and I attended an engagement party for the daughter of another long time friend. I saw her husband standing alone (we hadn’t seen him in years) so David and I went over and started up a conversation. We told him about an upcoming trip we were taking for our anniversary. Remembering my friend and her husband were married just six months before us I congratulated him on their thirty-one years of marriage.
I must have hit a nerve. With a chuckle and a smirk he tossed his head back and said, “Yeah and you said we wouldn’t last a year.”
My jaw dropped, my face turned red and I felt about two feet tall. Having no recollection of such a prediction, I squeaked out, “Did I really say that to you?”
Well apparently I did some thirty-odd years ago.
My words were a careless gift, and one my girlfriend’s husband never forgot.
That’s the way it is with words. Just like the material gifts we give, our words can hang around the receiver’s memory for a lifetime. And the words that get remembered are not always the words we want to be remembered by.
In this season of gift giving when you ponder what to give family and friends, consider the words you might give as well.
Consider giving the sort of words you might want someone to give you. Those that are free of malice and contention; words of encouragement that bring a smile to the face, love to the heart, and forgiveness to the soul.
Good gifts we want remembered.