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Real Answers™
Copyright: ©2008 Jill Darling
650 words


By: Jill Darling

Our basic human need is to feel loved and appreciated. Everyone needs affirmation, but too often positive thoughts are seldom expressed.

We may ponder how much an individual means to us or about the wonderful things he or she does. But unfortunately, thoughts remain just that, thoughts unexpressed, never making an impact on the one for whom they're intended.

Our words of potential blessing are like untapped treasure-troves of gold nuggets and precious gems that remain buried.

Words are powerful. Positive words brighten our day and lighten our step--they exude light and life. So many of us could be such an encouragement to those around us, if only we'd take the next step of actually telling the person verbally or through a personal letter.

After I left home and married, I reflected on my parents: the time and energy my mother spent taking care of us, cooking delicious meals and running the household; the years my dad spent as a helicopter pilot in the military, serving two years in Vietnam. Compassion rose in my heart as I thought about how they poured themselves into me and my brother and sisters.  

I wanted to tell them how much they meant to me. I also wanted to apologize for some of the attitudes I had in my growing up, especially during the teen-age years

So often parents are regarded as just a set of parents, an entity bestowed upon each of us—easily taken for granted. We neglect the fact that they are real people with feelings.

I wrote a long letter with tears streaming down my cheeks. It was a spiritually cleansing moment. I asked them to forgive me for my past behavior. I praised them for all the positive things they had brought into my life, listing their outstanding qualities and said nothing about their faults. This was a letter of pure thanksgiving—a tribute to them. I allowed love to flow from the depth of my being to the people who had given me life and everything else along the way. 

Mom and Dad were blessed. Mom choked up on the phone as she thanked me for caring and went on to say how she had been somewhat bratty as a teen-ager, too. Love—what a powerful force.

Since then I have made it a point to do the same for my brother and sisters and other extended family members. A thoughtfully-worded letter of love and appreciation does wonders.

How often have co-workers, teachers, and friends, made a difference in our lives? How many times have we thought the thought, but never passed it along?

Life can get so hectic and robotic, that we tend to get hard-hearted and disconnect from those who are closest to us—especially husbands and wives. It’s easy to focus on the flaws and tear down with criticism when there are good qualities within—treasures that are rarely admired. Celebrate the goodness.

I think about what life would be like without the people who are closest to me, and all that I’d miss. I don't want to wait and express my love for him or her in a eulogy at their funeral. It’s too late then. I don’t want regrets. I want to praise them in life so they can reap the benefits now.

Honoring God for His blessings on Thanksgiving seems to be an appropriate time to give thanks to those around us. I take this time to think of at least one person to whom I send a letter of sincere gratitude. Better yet, cultivating a thankful heart on a continual basis is a worthy goal.

Unearth the buried treasure. “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). It costs us nothing to say a few well-chosen words, but the result is always rich and rewarding.

"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091;

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