I received a message from a friend via Facebook. She wrote something that REALLY struck me and still chokes me up just thinking about it. I wanted to include it here if for no other reason than to keep it.
She wrote: "I don't know if I've ever told you but you're the first ever person (& almost the only I've believed) to tell me I looked fabulous. It was New Year's Eve '90 & it meant the world to me. I SLAVED over that dress! So, just to let you know, I have never forgotten you."
I found this to be incredibly profound. It's amazing to me how a small comment, said off-the-cuff, could have such a lasting impact on someone. I'm sure that I was just reacting to how she looked and it wasn't a comment that was premeditated or contrived. But it struck a cord with her and stayed with her for the better part of two decades. It goes to show that we must always be aware of what we say. The potential, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem at the time, can have a profound impact on the listener. And that impact can be harmful as easily as it can be joyful.
It makes my tear ducts gear up thinking that I was able to give a "gift" to a friend of such lasting quality. None of the birthday or Christmas presents are even remembered anymore but that one comment endured. I hope that I've been able to leave similar impressions with other friends and acquaintances. I do think that those kind of moments are few and far between.
I also hope that I've not had too many of the opposite effects on the folks around me. I could just as easily have said something that was not intended to harm someone's feelings but it would have been just as easy to leave a negative mark. A scenario came to me when I was telling this story to my mom...if someone held up two dresses and asked which I liked better, one having been purchased and the other having been made by hand, it could have left a positive mark by choosing the homemade dress or a negative one by choosing the store bought. The point is that you can't always know or chose the impact you make so it's not as if you can strive to always be positive but it's certainly worth a shot.