Daily Archives: September 5, 2018

henri nouwen: choosing words wisely

Words are very important. When we say to someone: “You are an ugly, useless, despicable person,” we might have ruined the possibility for a relationship with that person for life. Words can continue to do harm for many years.

It is so important to choose our words wisely. When we are boiling with anger and eager to throw bitter words at our opponents, it is better to remain silent. Words spoken in rage will make reconciliation very hard. Choosing life and not death, blessings and not curses often starts by choosing to remain silent or choosing carefully the words that open the way to healing.

daily reflection: emotional balance

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, . . .

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 83

When I survey my drinking days, I recall many people whom my life touched casually, but whose days I troubled through my anger and sarcasm. These people are untraceable, and direct amends to them are not possible. The only amends I can make to those untraceable individuals, the only “changes for the better” I can offer, are indirect amends made to other people, whose paths briefly cross mine. Courtesy and kindness, regularly practiced, help me to live in emotional balance, at peace with myself.