Kind Words

15 Jul

I have never really trusted kind words. Fearing false emotion and cheap platitudes, I shrugged them off as politely as possible and moved on, never giving them their due.

I was wrong.

Not to avoid cheap emotion, please… God save us from Oprah’s couch. But I was wrong not to listen. Not to hear. Not to recognize the truth that is almost always there.

The responses to my first post, Gifts from My Daughter, have been an amazing lesson in the power of a kind word at a difficult time. Such words, I have learned, do not lose, but rather gain with repetition the power to comfort, attaining a warm glow, the softness of a favorite blanket, the smell of woodsmoke. I cannot hear them enough.

Surprisingly many of these words have come from old friends, people I really didn’t expect to hear much from again. And yet here they are, sharing their own lives and stories as if the time and distance that separates us does not exist.

Why did I ever let such amazing friends drift away?.

The answer, I know, is mostly geography. When you pick up and move every decade or so, you cut a lot of ties. Hell, in my youth I thought this was healthy, something everyone should do. As if uprooting all the trees in a forest every ten years and moving them all around could somehow be good land management.

Idiocy.

I should never have let it happen. These people are too valuable. I should have brought them with me. Forcibly if necessary. And we should all now live within blocks of each other, having coffee in the morning, beers at night, and barbecues on the weekend. Our children and grandchildren should all be the best of friends and have the run of each others houses. We should be there for each other all the time, sharing the seasons of our lives.

Idiocy as well, I suppose. But, understandable idiocy, which is usually the best I can plead.

So, I throw myself upon the mercy of my friends. And be they in Perrysburg, Chicago, New York, or Steamboat Springs, I have no doubt they will catch me. Most likely with a kind word at a difficult time. Which I will value above gold.

 

 

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4 Responses to “Kind Words”

  1. Asja July 18, 2008 at 2:41 pm #

    Derek
    That is so beautiful how you start on putting down here what goes on in your head! It really touched me and I had to cry – but I have to cry quickly right now…
    It makes me feel weirdly sad how good you are in your little family nest and it makes me miss so much having something similar. Well, being together with the boys is great. Theirs a lot of love, but…
    Never cut of friends, that’s incredibly important. My girl friends who I know the longest give me the most comfort when I need it and even if that’s over the phone because of the big lake in between.
    Thanks for the vegetable, love to Amy, Hallie and Heath and have great days
    Asja

  2. Caitlyn Lacy July 21, 2008 at 3:05 pm #

    Todd!
    Beautiful beautiful writing. I am enjoying it greatly. Sorry I am just now returning your message. For some reason, WordPress blocked your comments as spam. Weird.

    Cannot wait to see you and meet precious Hallie in a few weeks!
    Love you
    Caitlyn

  3. Erma A August 20, 2008 at 4:16 pm #

    You are the kind of friends that do not drift away and are always there; regardless if words have been spoken. I enjoyed the idea of living within a few blocks of each other and having morning cawfee or evening brews (cheves in Spanish used by the males) and of course the cook outs. Yum.

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