They are still the most effective method of communication that we have.
Words are powerful. The right words can uplift or elevate. They can empower us. Change us. Make us smile. Make us feel good. They can turn a bad situation around. And the right words can heal.
However, the wrong words can tear down and destroy. They can hurt and wound. And oh how they do.
"Use your words..."
When I used to work in Kindergarten, perhaps the phrase I would find myself saying the most is "Use your words..." Young children, having neither age or experience, are not well schooled in social interactions and conflict resolution.They usually default to their fists when backed against the wall. I remember an incident where two little girls were involved in a shoving match. "Use your words" I encouraged. She crossed her arms, screwed up her face and spat out "you stinky poo-poo head..." Not quite the words I was expecting.
Recently I wrote an post on my blog and featured my friend as an example in an illustration. I wanted to show everyone what a valuable lesson I had learned from her. I chose my words very carefully and thought I'd used the write words to show how different we were.She calm and orderly. Me crazy and chaotic. I thought I had highlighted some of her finer qualities, such as discipline and organization. I thought she would like what I'd written. She didn't. Obviously I thought wrong.
I sent her a text to see if she'd read the post
I then left her a phone message followed by a message on facebook.
How could this have happened? Even if she had misconstrued or misinterpreted my words, surely she could read my heart? I would never do anything to hurt her. I was trying to build her up, not pull her down.
Still there was silence.
So finally I sent an short email. No flowery poetic language. Just the right words. The right word.
Sorry is not an eraser. It doesn't take away.
It's more like a Band-Aid.
It covers the wound, so healing can begin.
After my children have had a fight, I will often tell them to say they are sorry. Sometimes they are reluctant.
"I don't feel sorry" they will say. "Maybe not, but your brother needs to hear it..."
So I chose to say the right words and begin to repair the bridge from my end. My friend needs to see it and hear it.
And hopefully time will heal.
But if sorry isn't the right word, I'm not sure what else I can say?