While feeding Mama her thickened juice today, I suddenly wanted to hear her voice. I wanted her to say something—anything. It has been several months since she has uttered a single word.
I even tried to ask her some easy ‘yes’ questions to try to see if she would give me one of those automatic responses. With a smile, I looked into her eyes and asked, “Do you like your juice? Is it tasty? Would you like some more?”
She tried to answer. I could tell by the almost imperceptible movement of her lips as well as the sweet expression on her face that she really wanted to say something. She looked at me intently as I continued to ask her questions. I finally gave up and began singing to her as she finished up her juice.
I got to thinking about words. Words are great. Words hold so much power—so much potential for both good and evil. Kind words are gifts we can give each other; to our spouses, family and friends.
Proverbs 25:11 states, “The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry,” (The Message Bible)
On the other hand, words that are wanted, but not received are heartbreaking. I wish I had a recording of Mama’s voice from when she could talk. But though I don’t have her voice, I still have her and I give her the gift of hearing my voice as often as I am able.
Later, as I was thinking about it, the words to an old nursery rhyme floated through my head:
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
Words are like that nail. They are building blocks of both relationships and memories. They can bring joy, provide hope and offer second chances. We would all benefit from a ‘word at the right time’.
Instead of a nail, the rhyme could be rephrased:
For want of a word the joy was lost
For want of a joy the chance was lost
For want of a chance the time was lost
For want of a time the hope was lost
For want of a hope the memory was lost
All for the want of a word
With the prevalence of phones, tablets and computers we can instantly give timely and thoughtful words to anyone we know, no matter where they are in the world.
Is there someone who needs to hear your voice today?