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“I Love You” and Other Words That Don’t Matter

After dropping the boys at school the other day, I had some early-morning errands to run, and thus veered from my normal routine, taking a different route to work. As I neared what is locally known as “Dead Man’s Curve”, due to the high number of accidents which have occurred there, I spotted a woman standing alone, in the dark shadow of a large tree, holding two very small hand-written signs. I could barely read them and had to squint:  one said “Honk” and the other said “Slow Down.”

Could she be the mother of someone who’d been killed on this stretch of road? Who else would make it their mission to stand on the side of the road during morning rush hour, imparting such a warning?

And as I passed her, I thought about her signs. Clearly, she wanted to communicate — to warn passing drivers to heed caution. But how successful was she?

After all, she’d been standing in the shadows. I almost didn’t notice her, and I doubt many others did either.  Adding to that, her signs were small — letter-sized. Even if people rushing past had noticed her, would her message have registered?

Perhaps, to her, the mere act of standing there gives comfort.  But I like to know that my words have made an impact.  As my mother Dottie is fond of saying, “One likes to think that one has been heard.” And sometimes being heard means blowing a trumpet.

How we say something is just as important as the words we select, and can help connect the dots between hearing and understanding.

I’m sure Rep. Anthony Weiner often told his wife that he loved her — but to what end?  Too often, we think our mere words are enough.

We need to fully support our words with meaningful action, employ our words with care, and work to ensure they have the desired effect.

But when our actions, in fact, contradict our words, then even “I love you” may not be enough.

2 Responses

  1. Ann Blatecky

    Thank You! I will carry this in my heart….

    June 22, 2011 at 9:12 am

  2. Nicely put Kergan. This inspires me to be more “conspicuous” with my “I love you’s”. I often wonder whether the kids get it.

    June 21, 2011 at 10:03 am

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