Thursday, 10 March 2011
There are lessons we are all taught during our childhood. These are lessons that I in turn try to teach my kids. Lessons that I hope they take with them into adulthood, just as I imagine my mother must have hoped for me when she taught them to me.
Today I realised two things. Firstly that I have failed to learn some of those lessons and carry them into my adult life. And secondly, I was reminded of how fragile friendship is and how easily we can damage something beautiful.
‘Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal’ (Proverbs 12.18).
The words we choose and the way we use them can be profoundly damaging to others. My mother always told me to think before I spoke out loud and to remember that words have the potential to hurt. I remember reading somewhere that it is only in the dictionary that speech should come before thought.
Yesterday, in a moment of thoughtlessness, I said something that hurt a friend of many years. I did not mean to cause hurt but in that fraction of a second, I didn't consider the effects of my words before hand. What I said hurt my friend and I did not realise it until some time later. On my way into work this morning, I was struck by the thought that I might have been hurtful. My thoughts were confirmed later in a brief interaction with this friend.
I sought my friend out at the end of the day and apologised for hurting her. I had not meant to hurt her. My apology was accepted but I somehow feel that something in our relationship has been irrevocably damaged.
Friendship matters. It matters a lot to me. Yet, it is the most fragile of relationships. I'm grateful for each and every one of the men and women whom I count as friends. Through life's changes, they are there for me. And it is my heart’s desire to be there for them. But such is the nature of friendship that it is inherently fragile – easily damaged by careless comments and words.
My failure to remember the lessons I was taught in my childhood cost me today. My heart is heavy tonight and I am saddened by the feeling that I have lost something I can’t even put my finger on or describe. When I am able to, I shall have a chat with Dino-Boy and in time, with Missy Moo too, about hurtful words and try to teach them the lesson I forgot until it was bit too late.