The Gift of Words

This is an excerpt from a piece I wrote last at Christmas last year for Two Drops of Ink: A Literary Blog.  As we prepare gifts this season let us not forget, words are powerful, can be given to everyone on your list, and…they are free! You can read the entire piece here

christmas-ornament

I am a natural encourager.  I am also a teacher.  It is not clear to me which came first.  Am I a teacher because I am an encourager, or is it the other way around? Either way, I have found great pleasure in building others up and helping them to feel valued.  I do this in several ways, but mainly I write notes.  They started off as handwritten expressions of appreciation.  Never underestimate the power of a good thank you note.  From there I started writing little memos just to brighten someone’s day.  When the internet was invented, my note writing grew to a whole new level. The speed with which my words traveled was amazing!  Notes turned into letters at the point when my typing speed surpassed my handwritten scrawl, and while I still love a handwritten note, the ability to communicate instantly has made inspiration easy to spread on a daily basis.  Nothing motivates me like motivating someone else.  It is my passion.

All this encouraging had been going on for a while before it occurred to me that I should use words to bless my own family.  I was busy reaching out to those who were downtrodden or had been through some trauma or another.  Having walked those roads myself, I knew the importance of not feeling alone.  However, there came a day when I recognized my words could bolster people even in good times.  I knew I had been given a gift of words, but I also learned that words are a gift, like a present to be opened.

At Christmas, in the bottom of the stockings, I began to give the gift of words to my children.  I mean, I had been doing this for years for other people, so why had I not ever done it for my own children?  They are simple notes, no more than a paragraph, or two, that tell them what I see in them.  They are expressions of how they have grown over the past year, and what I see forming in their lives.  Gifts and talents are affirmed, but I also tell them how proud I am of them and how much I love them. Simple.  It doesn’t take much time and even less money, yet they are some of the most anticipated gifts I give all year.  I have found them on bulletin boards in college dorm rooms, and on desktops at home.  They are stuffed in Bibles, and taped to walls and magnetized onto refrigerators.  I put a little of myself in every note, and that heartfelt sentiment brings lift to the lives it touches.

My point is that words are a powerful, meaningful gift.  As writers, we might not realize that.  For us, words come naturally and so we do not always recognize what a gift they can be to someone.  Yet, as an encourager, I can tell you that many to whom I have sent messages, treasure them.  They hold them for years.  They reread them long after I have forgotten what I even wrote. I know this because they tell me so.  I don’t know why it always surprises me, because I do the same thing.  I have a collection of letters given to me in difficult times which bolstered me.  I have a box of cards with notes written in them that made me feel loved.  It wasn’t the cards that were the gift, it was the WORDS.  It is the season for giving presents wrapped in shiny paper with bows, and while ‘words’ may not be on the top of anyone’s Christmas list, they are definitely a gift to be given that will last longer than most, and be more significant. Here are some things you might want to include in your gift…

For the rest go to Two Drops of Ink.

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