Words can be powerful. Think of an occasion when someone blessed you with their words. (Conversely, words can be powerfully hurtful, too. Write about one of those instances if you must, but try to think of a positive memory instead.) Describe the circumstances surrounding the words that were powerful to you. Who said it? How did you react? How does it affect you today.
Normally I would jump at the chance to write about something funny and entertaining. But I've been wrestling with words and their meaning a lot in the last week. Maybe because mother's day was so recent, maybe because of some conversations with different family members that recently happened, I don't know? But I've been thinking about the words I said to my mother, almost 18 years ago in a family therapy session and how those words have impacted her. I've been reevaluating the benefit of confronting those who have hurt you. Does it really do any good, can it do more harm? I'm not exactly feeling guilty. I wasn't intending to hurt I was just addressing my hurt. It was rehearsed and approved by the therapist. The therapeutic session was beneficial to me; I realized that my step-father argued with my mother about her decision to give up custody of us (always good to know that the "steps" aren't always evil) and my mother explained that it had nothing to do with me or my typical nine year old behavior (for the longest time I struggled with the idea I wasn't good enough, which pretty much landed me in the eating-disorder clinic where the therapy session happened). So this was all helpful to me, but what did it do to my mother? I think she convinced herself she made the best decision for all of us; she did have two new babies to take care of, a new marriage, a new business, a new town. I hated living in Miami and I missed my father in Denver. All of these things translated to her that she was making a sacrificial decision in my sister's and my behalf. It translated a bit differently to me. Did me exposing my hurt and feelings of abandonment make her question her decision? Question her ability to mother? Was it at that moment she began to wrestle with guilt that has slowly eaten away at her and has made her more of a shell of a person? Someone who doesn't laugh as much? Cry as much? Doesn't feel as much? Someone who is in a self-induced protected shell. Was this just the last straw in a series of painful moments in her life? Did what I say to her that day effect how she mothered my brothers from that point on (they would have been young teens at the time).
Words can be powerful. They can make you cry, they can produce patriotic fervor, they can make you laugh. But silence.......silence, the silence in the moment before you speak the words, the moment when you think am I doing harm or good with these words? The silence when you choose NOT to say the words that could change a person's life for the worse. Silence before you say the words that are swarming in your head in the midst of anger. Silence can be so much more powerful.