Jeff wrote to me: There’s a principle in Buddhism called “right speech” which asks us to be mindful of the things we say, to not gossip or spread words that divide. It also reminds us that words can be carriers of peace and positivity. He continued with a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, For A Future To Be Possible, “Our speech is powerful. It can be destructive and enlightening, idle gossip or compassionate communication. We are asked to be mindful and let our speech come from the heart.”
My reflection: I sadly remember the words I wrote in Stay Close:
“What was the most painful thing I’ve ever said to you?” I asked an older Jeff.
His answer was quick; he knew.
“When you and Dad picked me up from the police station after my arrest, you told me that you wished I weren’t your son.”
I was stunned into silence, rummaging through my brain trying to remember if I said those words. How could I have said those words?
“I’m sorry, Jeff; I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.” What more was there to say? In anger, we parents say things we don’t mean, and our words pierce our children’s remembrance like a blade.
Today’s Promise to consider: Words are mighty. I’ve said things to both my sons that I wish I could erase. I’ve put thoughts into speech that have seemed to take on a life of their own and come true. Today, I will be mindful of what I say. My words will be positive and spoken from a compassionate heart.