“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” We all learn too early that words can indeed be hurtful. We’re supposed to let the taunts and maledictions slide off our psyches like water off a duck’s back, but we don’t. The words float into the cracks and crevices and lodge there like black mold spores, just waiting for the right soil and temperature conditions before growing a new crop of fungus. Hurtful words fester and destroy, sending a decay through our systems that could be fatal, at least emotionally, if we let them take over.
Mother Teresa’s quote, however, shows how the right word, aptly spoken, brings a new truth to light. Just as the hurtful word flung at us in a time of pain or angst or anger can grow in the dark corners of our souls, the kind words spoken are like ripples. The hateful words grow like fungi; the kind words are like echoes. Mother Teresa’s quote reminds us that we should be speaking kind words. The words echo through us and around us and will continue to peal as long as we live. What’s nice, too, is that an echo is directionless; you cannot tell where the shout comes from. All you know is the echo of joy that floods your heart as your memory brings it to the forefront of your mind. It does not matter who said it; it is enough that it cuts through the fungus and opens the earlids of our soul.
The kind word, dropped like a gentle rain onto my life--perhaps by someone not even realizing the verbal refreshment he or she is giving--creates an echo that will come back to me just when I need it. At the moment I am tired, I will hear the echo of a friendly voice: “You can do it!” At the moment I am despairing, I will hear the reverberations of some person's encouragement: “You are not alone!” At the moment I feel the mold growing and taking over portions of my soul, I hear the repetition of a beloved voice calling out across the canyon in my heart, “You are loved!” And the beautiful words ring on, forever, calling out to me, spreading light in the darkened corners and eradicating the mold.
So, today, if you get the chance, be the person to spread the echoes of good into someone's life. You never know how much a person needs to hear these "short and easy to speak" words of kindness. It may be that gently spoken word at just the right time that will make all the difference. Blessings, dear friends. Remember: you can do it; you are not alone; and you are loved!