The Price of a Word

My Dad and I were playing the “quote ” game. I would say a quote and he would guess who said it.

“Four score and seven years ago our Father’s set forth a new nation” Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address–of course.

“As God is my witness, I’ll never go hungry again!” Scarlett O’Hara,  Gone With the Wind…one of my all time favorite movies!

“God helps those who helps themselves. ”  I thought I’d get him on this one! He knows it’s not in the Bible, it’s in Poor Richard’s Almanac, coined by Benjamin Franklin.  My Dad  is a tough one to trick!

Ok Dad how about this one, “Words are free but they can cost you everything.” hmmm, he had to think, “I don’t know, but who ever said that is wise.”

I beamed! It was my quote. I coined it. I said it one night after dinner.

In a moment where wisdom was lacking.

It had been one of those conversations, it could go either way. Everyone could leave the table happy, feeling appreciated, loved, important or angry, hurt, unappreciated, wishing they were somewhere else. That night, the word cost a lovely evening. Each left the table to hide out in their own space, find comfort in their music, movie, or computer because there would be no comfort found in each other, I sat contemplating what the thoughtless word had cost.

The price was too high. It cost an evening with my husband, a hug from my Dona May, a heart to heart with my JoBird. The price was lonely  hours of regret. The thoughtless word,  could not be taken back,  the minutes could not be gained. As time was fleeting and  lost, the word hung in the room as if it were humidity, unseen but thick and sticky and miserable.

As the time ticked by and thought was put into a kind word, a loving apology, a heartfelt acknowledgement, love was restored, but time was not regained.


An unkind word, a careless comment, a thoughtless phrase, the need to make a point,  the need to be right, the need for them to be wrong, the need to look good, the need to avoid looking bad….. That’s the price, it’s not worth the cost.


I have my quote.

I whisper it to myself often.

I repeat it to my husband.

I mention it to my children.

I share it with my friends.

I slow down a bit when I answer.

I weigh the cost of my comment.

I breath gentleness in my reply.

The next word will be priceless.






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