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Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say

October 2015

by Michael O’Brien


The one who holds my heart and I went to see Everest last night. I expected the scenery to be incredible and it was; the 3D glasses made many of the scenes too real. I found myself catching my breath, especially as the climbers crossed a crevasse on a bridge made of ladder sections roped together: what a crazy thing to do!

pretty much knew that it wasn’t going to be a happy ending type of movie.  I had heard about the storyline, and so I knew not everyone who went up the mountain would come down the mountain. The most incredible scene (spoiler alert) was when the climb leader, stuck on a rock shelf, out of oxygen, frostbitten, understood he wasn’t going to be going home to his wife and soon to be born daughter. His team at base camp improvised a way for his wife to speak to him over the radio. At first this motivated him, and when a rescue attempt failed, he was able to say goodbye.

Most of us do that every day, say goodbye as we head out the door, or hang up a phone, or head off on a mission to the grocery store. We say “goodbye” and “I love you” as we part. Maybe some people would get used to that, always believing that we’ll be back with them soon and not giving the words another thought. But, next to our prayers, these actually are some of the most important words we say every day.

I can picture ten families in Oregon today, remembering the words their daughter, son, mother or father said as they headed off to community college, probably wishing they had said more, probably wishing they’d have said, “Wait, don’t go today,” but we always go; we have to go to work, go to the store, wherever: we go because for many of us we don’t get to live each day of our lives together.

So we say how we feel about the person we’re leaving. And we mean what we say.

You never know what a day will bring; be sure to say the words; be sure to mean them.

Take care of each other. Think well of each other.