"Be careful with your words. Once they are said they can only be forgiven not forgotten." - Carl Sandburg
Words matter. I made a quick trip to Target today to grab a few things and enjoy an hour to myself, (although I did have the baby). It has been messy here, a rainy and cool 61 degrees. I was darting into the store with the baby on my hip and a blanket wrapped around him and just as I entered the doors I heard, “put a hat on that baby” in the most hateful and most passive aggressive tone. At first I didn’t realize she was speaking to me. I didn’t even see her face. I continued walking in the store and my blood began boiling. You see, words matter. The THINGS we say and speak matters and the WAY we say and speak them matters. They carry tone and weight and influence. She hurt my feelings. Her words said to me that she didn’t think I was doing a very good job as a mother. She didn’t think I was caring for my child properly. Her words hurt, because words matter.
I continued shopping and my baby loved it. He smiled at everyone and cooed and giggled as we walked through the store. He loved the lights and the sounds and let’s face it, who doesn’t love Target. He was fine and I realized that I didn’t have to let her words affect me negatively (and I know I’m not a bad mom, although there are many times i question it). I decided to put her words aside.
But here is the thing. Words DO matter, and I may not have seen her face, but I will always remember her voice. I will always carry it with me and my hope is that I can use it as a reminder that MY words matter. If we are speaking to a classroom, or to patients, or to a congregation, or to the country, or to the cashier at the grocery store, or to our neighbors, or to our children or spouses, or to strangers in target...words matter. They really do. They make a difference for better or worse as soon as they leave our mouths. Someone may be having a bad day, or struggling with self esteem, or are frazzled and our words will affect them. May we use our words to speak kindness, to speak love, to speak the truth, to speak wisdom and compassion because you see, words matter.
Words. Do. Matter.