Words are my life source. They build, connect, affirm, inspire, direct, and do so so much more. They are the springboard for my relationships and my sanity on a blank page. I use them to craft marketing strategies, ad campaigns, or share stories.
They help me spread the word about great books and authors. These small constructed letters strung across paper employee me (or at least are the reason for my job). I LOVE them.
But sometimes words drain me. Sometimes I feel spent and emptied because I’ve used all of mine or spent all of my time construing ways to use them– and yet, I’m a words person.
One early morning I found myself sitting on a plane with words spinning through my head, going a million miles a minute. I’m sure I looked calm on the outside (or perhaps not?), but as I sat there with a couple of hours of sleep, feeling tired, I started strategizing what I needed to get done before I landed.
And as I did, the man beside me started talking. That particular morning the conversation felt a little too personal, and yet something within told me to dig deep and engage.
The man started sharing stories about his family—he had a daughter around my age, was happily married, and owned a business. He was going to visit his sister in Toronto.
I paused all that was running through my head and started asking questions. I like questions. I like listening…but then my words soon became his words and he in-turn started asking me questions. Not just general, you’re a stranger, and I’m a stranger questions–but deep questions.
With friends and family? Ask away! But a stranger? And these were good, challenging questions hours before my first coffee.
I do not enjoy being the center of attention, especially on an early morning flight when the people around me are either trying to sleep or silently typing on their laptops. And yet I answered. I shared as he asked. I mean, I really shared. I didn’t use words to deflect; I used them as they were meant to be used.
By the end of the flight, we both shared and we both listened, and man, he was a good listener and asked some direct questions. Before I got off the plane he spent some time encouraging me. It felt out of the blue but my heart was tuned in and those were words that fed my soul that morning. Those words edified and uplifted as reluctant as I was when we first started talking.
It’s been a few weeks since that conversation, and I’ve taken those words, and the words of others I met within a couple of days of each other—including an Uber driver and an author— and I’ve reveled in their power.
What we say matters. What we write matters. How we share matters. I was built into that morning and I am going to remember that for many more days to come.
My challenge to you is this—what are your words doing to others? Is there someone you can write a card to, call on the phone, or go for a walk and edify? Take a moment and use your words to genuinely build into someone’s life, even if it’s a stranger.
They might remember more than you’ll ever realize.