Word Hugs

by Freida Harrison

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
~~ Mother Teresa

When asked what I want for my birthday, I’ve often answered, “Kind words and hugs.” To me, they go hand in hand. I think of kind, verbal expressions as “word hugs”—those sweetly spoken words that hug the heart and make us feel loved, appreciated, accepted, worthy, and needed.

This past week, I had the privilege of being the recipient of kind words spoken by three very close friends whom I have known for many years.

One friend took me to lunch at a wonderful little tea room that we both enjoy. The food was yummy, but what I remember most are those treasured words of kindness that she said to me and about me. The way she asked questions, then listened with her full attention made me feel special. We laughed. We cried. That is what I think about when I reflect on our time together—those priceless words of compassion that hugged my heart.

20140331_01aYesterday, my husband and I made a day trip to visit a couple of friends who live almost two hours from us. I have known this lovely lady since we were six years old, and through our friendship, our husbands have become friends. At her suggestion, she and I sneaked away to browse in a few, small antique-type stores, while the men went to the house and discussed tractors.

Walking through the stores, we enjoyed seeing some treasured items that brought back shared memories from our childhood. But what I remember most is the way she talked and listened to me with warmth, wisdom, and understanding. She smiled. She hugged. She related. Love and kindness caressed her beautiful face the entire day.

When my husband and I pulled into our driveway late that evening, I sent my friend a text letting her know we were home and thanking them for the pleasant day. Her answer expressed the same sentiment, then she added the priceless words, “Thanks for being YOU.” Those meaningful “word hugs” will remain in my heart forever.

This morning, I experienced a nice surprise when I opened my email. Another friend had written a note saying, “I thought of you when I read this in a devotional this morning”:

Rest time is not waste time.
it is economy to gather fresh strength……
it is wisdom to take occasional furlough.
In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.
~~ Charles H. Spurgeon

She knows me well and communicates with me almost every single day. She understands that I need more rest than the average person due to some health issues and that sometimes this causes me guilt feelings of not living up to my expected potential. How considerate of her to take the time to send these thoughtful words of encouragement—“word hugs” that I can go back and reread when I feel frustrated.

Three ladies. Three different personalities who have known me for a long time and care enough to express their love and concern with hugs and words of kindness. What a blessing to have such great friends!

Kindness is an act that warms the heart of the giver as well as the receiver. May I learn from the example of my friends and express “word hugs” to others every day, whether it be in person, a phone call, a card, an email, or a simple text.

Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)


Copyright © 2014, Freida Harrison, all rights reserved, Breath of Life Women’s Ministries. Bible scripture from the New Living Translation. Quote by Mother Teresa. Pictures from Pinterest.

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