A Few Choice Words


Years ago, my boss nominated me to buy a card for a female coworker on leave and in the hospital.  I knew nothing of her ailment, only that nobody was talking — with the exception of some low whispers behind closed doors.  Having eliminated all bizarre and communicable possibilities, a slip of the boss’ tongue finally clued me in.  I surmised (rightly so) that she was having a breast reduction.

Not really something worth whispering about . . . but buying a card for it . . . really?

That afternoon, I clocked out for lunch and walked to the nearest Hallmark Card Store.  My mind repeated one thought with every step:  blank inside. 

I charged into the store with eyes focused.  The last thing I wanted was for a clerk to ask if I was looking for anything in particular. 

 I scanned the rows with furry, ignoring everything but the white cardstock sticking up with a brief description of the cards in the holder:  birthday for him, engagement, first communion, second lost tooth, loss of beloved gerbil, for the friend who hates coconut (no joking), for the guy who said he was going to the restroom and never came back . . .

Where was the Blank Inside?  Didn’t Hallmark know that silence is bliss.

Finally it appeared: a beautiful card with flowers on the front, advertised as blank inside.   I snatched it from the rack, ready to grab the matching lavender envelope, when something told me to open it first. 

It was, in fact, NOT blank inside.  But contained long strokes of cursive which read: thinking of you . . . in this time of great loss.

I found myself  hysterical in Hallmark.  Laughter, tears . . .completely doubled over in the middle of the “sympathy’ section.  In a few words, all my discomforts diminished and I finished my shopping trip with joy.

What we say, only we can decide.  No one can choose your words for you.  Only you control what rolls from your tongue.  And a few choice words can make all the difference. 

When you speak, then you embrace responsibility and exercise power.  To speak is to seize an opportunity:   to bring laughter like medicine, kindness like honey, wisdom like water. 

Perhaps we should all take a moment to be blank inside — to consider what our words have been, consider what they ought to be.  Your words are your choice. Open your mouth, choose well, and you have nothing to lose.

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