The Things We Say

There are times I need to keep my mouth shut. Times I have said things I have immediately regretted. I’ve even written things – things I’ve not taken the time to contemplate enough – that I’ve wished I had not written. And I don’t mean just badly written things…but things I just plain would never have said/written, had I considered all the possible ramifications.

Yes, I tend towards a big mouth and I need to work on self-control.

I’ve been contemplating things people say lately. Trite, pat, cliché things. Like the phrase, “Stop by any time”. I have used this phrase before. I have used it and not meant it.

But I have also used it and truly meant it.

Or what about, “Call me any time – day or night!”

I have also used this phrase and, I think, truly meant it.

But what would I do if they really stopped by when I was in the middle of a nap? Or of cooking dinner – a dinner that can’t be walked away from? Or if I was giving my daughter a bath? Or worse yet, writing?!!

Would I be as excited to entertain them then?

Or what if they called at 3:00 in the morning? Would I really be as excited to chat?

Or what if I did these things to someone else? What might a friend’s reaction be if I phoned at 6:30 a.m., when they’re in the mad morning dash?

I read something that someone posted on Facebook a few months ago. And the thing I read made me worry. Made me think that they were seriously debating the worthwhileness of continuing living.

So I sent her a private message. I said, “I don’t know what you’re going through, but I’m here if you need to talk – anytime – day or night – I mean it.” I gave her my phone number, and I prayed.

The next day, after zero response to my message, she wrote on her public wall, “Some people really overreact.”

I went back to the private message and I wrote, “If I’m the one who overreacted, I’d far rather be accused of that than of ignoring a hurting friend.” And I left it at that.

She has never responded, and yet it doesn’t matter. I wanted her to know that when I say, “Call me anytime”, I mean it. I wanted her to know that, should she ever find herself at the end of her rope, unable to hang on any longer, I’m here for her.

And even if she stopped by when I’m in the middle of dinner, that’s okay. I’ll ask her in and hand her a plate.

Because that’s what you do when someone needs you. Even if your house is a mess. Even if dinner burns, even if it’s the middle of the night and you’re exhausted.

The things you say ought to mean something.

There are so many times I’ve said things I regret. But offering help has never been one of those times.

2 Responses

  1. Your reaction to your friend’s Facebook comment seems legitimate to me. And that you responded privately was certainly the correct approach. How many times don’t we read or hear news stories where an individual posted something on Facebook and then carried through? Too often. You did the right thing. And I have no doubt you are an honorable woman who means what she says.

    I need to add also that the mood-setting fog image is a perfect match for the content of this post. I really like the photo. A lot.

  2. Thanks, Audrey – as I was looking for the right photo I saw that one and said, “Yep! That’s the one!” A bit introspective today, I guess – or maybe just tired! But yes, I certainly didn’t want to ignore such a clear comment…just in case…

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