Tuesday, May 30, 2006

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 learn

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 rewarded

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

by Rev. Thecla St. Romain _

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