Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Greatest Gift of All - Speech

 There is definitely something to be said for the unspoken word. Those moments when a simple look or touch tells you exactly what the other person is thinking or feeling. Sadly as magical as those "silent" moments may be, over time I think we rely too much on them and those thoughts or feelings we are trying to convey to one another get lost in translation.
We forget that the spoken word has some pretty powerful magic of its own. I definately did.
We stop saying "I love you" because we assume that it is a well-known fact. We stop complimenting each other, because after a while, we figure "its all been said before, so why say it again". We stop telling our loved ones how much we appreciate the things they do, because those things become the norm, lose their luster and eventually go unnoticed.

I saw an elderly couple in the grocery store the other day. They seemed as though they were still in the "honeymoon phase" of their relationship. He held her hand, kissed her cheek and told her he loved her all in the few moments I was near them. Her response was to pat him on the cheek and say "I love you too handsome".
Yes it seemed a little strange of a scene for grocery shopping, but also refreshing to see people who I'm sure have lived through many heartaches, letdowns and broken promises to still be so loving and cherish another human being's affection so much. I found myself wondering. are they new to this relationship or have they been together most of their lives? The answer didn't really matter much to me, but the question was worth thinking about. If they were new to the relationship, they were off to a good start. If they had been together for 30-40 years, well. I'd say we could all learn a lot from them.

Seeing these two made me consider my own life and how I communicate with the people I love. I considered how many times I have looked at my wife or kids and felt an almost breathtaking amount of love, compassion or pride for them and yet I stood and said nothing. I considered how many times I lay next to my wife and wanted nothing more than to be close to her and yet I did not move from my side of the bed. And I wonder why that is. Is it some deep-rooted insecurity or fear of rejection? Probably. But even so, am I not a strong enough person to overcome those fears? I would hope so. Because life is too short not to make the most of every moment you have with the ones you love.
So what have I learned from this? Where do I go from here? How do I change my ways?...

When I find myself hesitating to express my affections, I will reflect on what I felt when I saw the elderly couple in the grocery store. I will stop to notice the expressions and actions of those in my life and I will react accordingly. I will appreciate the unspoken moments and look forward to the spoken ones - and I will make an effort to initiate both. I will be a more considerate and confident father, since my wife already left, a more compassionate friend, a more eager and expressive lover (some day) and overall a more expressively honest person. I will notice and appreciate what others do for me and revel in the moment each time a kind word is spoken to me. I will not allow those precious moments to be lost, forgotten or go unnoticed. And last but not least, I will pray that when I reach an elderly (a little more than right now) age, I will still hold all of those moments in such high regard; I will not become complacent in life and that I will still be as surrounded by love as I am today.

And this, I wish for all of us.

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