“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
John F. Kennedy
Good morning, friends! I hope your Thanksgiving experience was wonderful in some way and safe in every way. We live in challenging times, but these are our times. Now, let’s get to it.
I understand that I am a wordy person. It’s not just that I love words; I treasure them. And as the great philosopher Sting once wrote (no pun intended), “Poets, priests and politicians, have words to thank for their positions.” So I accept the power that words play in my life. But I also understand that words have limited power in important ways, maybe in the most important ways.
One of the most eventful experiences of my work is the funeral. Emotions are high and deep. In many cases we are at our very most vulnerable. And I find words to be the least effective tools in these times. No one ever remembers the words of a funeral. What we remember are the actions. Who was there? Who helped me in some way when I was most down? These actions stick with us.
I’m not suggesting that words don’t matter; they do! We long to hear kind words, affirming words, sincere words and more. We know how good words can be. And how bad. But we also know that words are not the best expression of any emotion, thought or idea. Actions are.
The former President speaks of the connection between gratitude and action. Did you think of that connection last week? As you were counting your blessings as thankfulness, did you equally count your opportunities to show thankfulness as well as speak it? That’s the challenge. We default to words when we should be aspiring to actions.
So the next time an idea, or an emotion, or anything that calls words from you arises, challenge yourself to think of any action or three that might convey the same point. And this time default to the actions. You may begin a trend that will change your life. Have a wonderful week!