Monday, May 06, 2013
Choose Your Words Well
A certain good woman one day said something that hurt her best
friend of many years. She regretted it immediately and would
have done anything to have taken the words back. But they were
said impulsively in a moment of thoughtlessness, and as close
as she and her friend were, she didn't consider the effects of
her words before hand.
What she said hurt the friend so much that this good woman was
herself hurt for the pain she caused. In her effort to undo
what she had done, she went to an older, wiser woman in the
village, explained her situation, and asked for advice.
The older woman listened patiently in an effort to determine
just how sincere the younger woman was, how far she was willing
to go to correct the situation. She explained that sometimes,
in order to put things back in order, great efforts must be made.
She then asked, "Just what would you be willing to do to repair
the harm done?" The answer was heartfelt. "Anything!"
Listening to her, the older woman sensed the younger woman's
distress and knew she must help her. She also knew she could
never alleviate her pain by living her life for her, but she
could teach, if the younger woman would first listen and then
She knew the outcome would depend solely on the character of the
younger woman. She said, "There are two things you need to do to
make amends. The first of the two is extremely difficult.
Tonight, take your best feather pillows and open a small hole
in each one. Then, before the sun rises, you must put a single
feather on the doorstep of each house in town.
When you are through, come back to me. If you've done the first
thing completely, I'll tell you the second."
The young woman hurried home to prepare for her chore, even
though the pillows were very dear to her and very expensive.
All night long, she labored alone in the cold. She went from
doorstep to doorstep, taking care not to overlook a single
house. Her fingers were frozen, the wind was so sharp it caused
her eyes to water, but she ran on through the darkened streets,
thankful there was something she could do to put things back the
way they once were.
Finally as the sky was getting light, she placed the last
feather on the steps of the last house. Just as the sun rose,
she returned to the older woman.
She was exhausted but relieved that her efforts would be
"My pillows are empty. I placed a feather on the doorstep of
each home." "Now," said the wise woman, "Go back and refill your
pillows. Then everything will be as it was before."
The young woman was stunned. "You know that's impossible!
The wind blew away each feather as fast as I placed them on the
doorsteps! You didn't say I had to get them back! If this is
the second requirement, then things will never be the same."
"That's true," said the older woman. "Never forget. Each of
your words is like a feather in the wind. Once spoken, no
amount of effort, regardless how heartfelt or sincere, can ever
return them to your mouth. Choose your words well and guard
them most of all in the presence of those you love."
from the mountain