Years ago, I borrowed a cute pregnant jumper from my friend Diana. It was the early 90s, and we were both homeschooling moms, so if you guessed that it was a denim jumper, you would be correct. What I especially liked about it was that it had enough room to accommodate a growing belly, but wasn’t one of those tent dresses that was so popular. Seriously. Some of those pregnant dresses were like wearing actual tents! So, anyway, this was an unassuming denim jumper that I just loved and wore a lot while I was pregnant with Jordan.
The jumper found its way to the back of my closet during the last month of my
pregnancy because as accommodating as it was for my growing belly, Jordan grew so much that this sweet jumper just couldn’t keep up and a pretty, soft pink jumper of the tent variety soon took its place. Some months after Jordan was born, Diana found out she was pregnant, so she called asking if I could return the jumper.
Thinking I could just go to my closet and pull it out, I told her I would bring it right over. (She lived across the street.) It wasn’t there. I was mortified!! The only thing that I could think of is that the jumper had been mistakenly placed in my give away box and would have made it to Goodwill. Shoot.
I called Diana, and apologized profusely, telling her I would buy her a new jumper. She stopped me in mid-sentence and said a phrase that has had staying power in my life. “You are more important to me than a silly jumper.”
Talk about a relationship builder! This sounds so cliché, but that phrase was implanted in my mind that day and has often come to the fore front when dealing with broken antique plates, chairs or ruined ceilings. I have to admit, though, I have often fought the urge to throw out the phrase, ” I can’t have anything nice!” (and have on many occasions). The times I have said, “You are more important to me than _______”, were the times that an important relationship was strengthened. I know that day I heard Diana speak those words to me, I felt loved and important. I need to remember – and practice – saying those words.
Our words are so powerful that they can build or destroy. When I am irritated, it’s especially important that I take pause and choose my words carefully. I really want to build mountains – I don’t want to strip mine my relationships. I recently read the book, The Help, and watched the movie shortly afterwards. (If you get a chance to read the book, please do. It’s awesome. The move? Eh.) Aibee, getting ready to say good-bye to her last charge says:
“I look deep into her rich brown eyes and she look into mine. Law, she got old-soul eyes, like she done lived a thousand years. And I swear I see, down inside, the woman she gone grow up to be. A flash from the future. She is tall and straight. She is proud. She got a better haircut. And she is remembering the words I put in her head. Remembering as a full-grown woman.
“And then she say it, just like I need her to. ‘You is kind,’ she say, ‘you is smart. You is important.'” (The Help, by Kathryn Stockett)
Think about the strength of positive, life-giving words. They really can be eternal.
I did find that blue jumper, by the way. Funny thing. It was in the back of Terry’s closet. Go figure.