Yesterday was my birthday. Like most people do, I received a number of well-wishes in the form of cards, social media greetings, and even gifts. And like most people do, I’ll forget who said what after a few days have passed.
Except for one.
This year, I received a card that stood out from the rest. It isn’t funny, like the ones I received from friends. It isn’t sentimental, like the ones I received from family. It wasn’t hastily written, like the ones I received from those on the fringes of my circle. No, this one is different.
The requisite “Happy Birthday” is part of the message, but the rest was an affirmation such as I have never received before. This simple card contains words that lift me up, give me hope for the future, and inspire me to be a better man.
We use words so casually these days. We use them to hurt, to insult, or to deride those who are different from us. We use them to convince, cajole, or embarrass others into acting the way we want them to. We often use too many words, and we often use too few. Rarely though, do we use the right ones.
I believe that words matter. When we speak, we expect to be heard and remembered. It’s imperative that we choose our words carefully then, as if the words we speak or write are being engraved in stone as a memorial to our legacy. Our words should be something we gladly stand behind, not something we quickly apologize for and hope to forget.
This card I received yesterday convicts me to think about the words I use. And while the others I’ve received will likely be thrown away, I think I’ll hang onto this one as a reminder to choose my words more carefully in the days ahead.
Here’s hoping you receive some encouraging words this holiday season.