Have You Ever?

Have you ever experienced a moment when a simple yes or no would have made a difference in your life and yet for some unknown reason you have not been able to say it? And that single word has cost you dearly? Instead, disappointed and angry, you spent the rest of your days thinking of how you could or would fix the situation next time. But unfortunately there was no next time. That one word!

Oscar Wilde wrote:

“Words! Mere words! How terrible they were! How clear, and vivid, and cruel! One could not escape from them. And yet what a subtle magic there was in them! They seemed to be able to give a plastic form to formless things, and to have music of their own as sweet as that of a viol or of lute. Mere words! Was there anything so real as words?”

Words! Said at times of love, of hate. Said passionately, shyly, without regret. Words of hope, words of despair, words of wisdom, words of disappointment, words of comfort, words of solace. Words! It is words that connect people, words that separate them, words that mark the beginning of a new life, words that bring closure, words that encourage, words that hurt. Words that touch some secret chord within. At certain times a mere “I’m sorry,” or “I love you,” or “Don’t worry,” would make all the difference in the world to the person hearing it.

“If only she’d had a chance to exchange a few words with Samer before they took him. If only he’d looked once, just once, in her direction before he had walked away from her in front of the gunman. A simple “Don’t worry, sweetheart” would have been enough for his part, even though it would have been a mere pretence under the circumstances.” from The Lost I

Words mean so much to me and yet I have always been afraid of them, afraid to use them. Maybe because I find it hard to express myself, to say whatever is expected of me at times. I am not good in saying the right thing, I never have been. How can you know that every time you say something there is no better way of saying it? Again, how can you know which words to use? The same words sometimes so meaningful and at other times silly and meaningless depending on how, where and when you use them! And yet quoting Nicolas Sparks;

“You’re going to come across people in your life who will say all the right words at all the right times. But in the end, it’s actions, not words, that matter.”

It’s true. Many of us have had disappointments in life, heartaches, failures, financial losses because of broken promises. But on the other hand there are times when words are all that matter.

During my last visit to my parents in Lebanon, summer 2010, I realized how fragile both my mother and father had become. On the day of departure, it dawned on me that perhaps this was the last time I would see them. I wanted so much to tell them how much I love them. I wanted to tell them how much I appreciate what they have done for me and it is because of them I am the person I am today. I wanted to ask their forgiveness for all the times that I have treated them unkindly, hurt them unintentionally, not knowing then what they were going through at the time? I wanted to tell them even though I live miles and miles away, I love them so much and that they are always in my mind and heart. But I could not bring myself to do it. All I could say to them was to take care of themselves, and that I will be back soon to be with them again. And now thinking back I cannot help but quote Mitch Album:

“Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back.”


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