This week I’ve been correcting the typeset pages for my fall novella, A Proper Marriage,and deliberating over every word choice, since this is my last chance to make changes before the work goes to print. I’ve been thinking about the words we choose in our every day interactions with people, and about how the right words at the right time can make all the difference. For instance:
“I’m sorry.” How simple and yet how hard it is to say them, especially when we are in the wrong. In my teen years I had a friend who would say “Well, I’m sorry if you took it the wrong way.” Putting the blame on me. A real apology, one that can change the dynamics of a relationship is the one in which we accept the blame: I’m sorry I hurt you. I’m sorry I broke my promise. I’m sorry I let you down.
“Thank you.” I’ve been struggling with this one lately, not because I failed to say thank you ( thanking others is built into every Southern girl’s DNA), but because things I’ve done for others have gone unacknowledged. I’m not expecting big gushy expressions of gratitude, but I have been surprised not to have received even a simple “thank you.” Sometimes a thank you is the only acknowledgment that a gift was received, a favor completed. I don’t know. Maybe I’m out of step with the times. Maybe “thank you” has gone the way of the buggy whip and cursive handwriting. But I hope not.
“Carpe Diem.” Seize the day. Sometimes we get so caught up in the day to day, or in regrets for what is past that we forget to enjoy the present moment. I’ve worked harder this year to remember to notice what’s happening around me every day.
I’m sorry. Thank you. Carpe Diem. What words do you try to live by?