I would like to share a few lessons from a special book that I received recently for my birthday. It is not a book that you will find on any best seller lists, or in any bookstore. I have around six hundred books in my library, and this one may always be my favorite. To you, this book might not be all that special, or significant. It is a book that was put together by my daughter Laura, and the hearts of over seventy-five other people. There are a few very important lessons from this very special book, that I would like to share with you.

 

  1. Words are very powerful. Words, spoken, or written, have tremendous power. They have the ability to build up, encourage, appreciate, and acknowledge. They can show thankfulness, mercy, kindness, and love. Words can also have the opposite effect on the lives of others, and can be as equally powerful, in bringing very negative outcomes to the innermost parts of other people. Choose words carefully, before, they are spoken.
  2. Words cost nothing, but can be very costly, or more precious than all the finest gold. I am not sure how much this book cost, but it is a thousand times more valuable, than the money it took to physically make it. The precious, heartfelt words in it, are what creates its tremendous value. The gift of words assembled in this book are to me, far more valuable than things money could buy. Wrong words, that maybe should never be spoken, or written, may seem free, but can have the opposite effect, and be very costly. Wrong, hurtful words, can damage important relationships, or if repeated too often, can completely destroy a relationship.
  3. Words are clues, that reveal what is in the heart of a person. If you want to know what is in the heart of a person, all we need to do is listen. The words in this book, and the people who wrote them, bring me great joy and thankfulness, because it is a beautiful picture of many loving, caring, and very thoughtful people, something that our world today can use more of. The words a person chooses to speak, along with their tone of voice, and body language, give a very accurate picture into the heart of another person. Words, spoken or written, will clearly reveal beautiful hearts filled with love, compassion, and integrity, they will also expose hearts that contain things like anger, bitterness, and jealousy. When listening to words spoken by people, it is also a great practice to listen to our own, sometimes we may be surprised at what we can learn about our own hearts by the words we speak.
  4. Never waste an opportunity to speak, or write, words of love, respect, appreciation, and encouragement. About twenty years ago I was about to give a speech to about five hundred people, and I was terrified. Shelly Mayer, a great friend of mine, saw that I was about to pass out, and stepped in to save me. Right before I was to step on stage, she placed one hand on each of my shoulders, aggressively shook me, and then looked me squarely in the eye, while sternly saying, “Hank, just speak from your heart.” Shelly’s extremely valuable advice, saved me from disaster during that speech, but it also forever changed my perspective on the value of speaking from the heart. This book that I received from several very special people, are just that, words from the heart. I will be forever grateful for everyone who took time to allow their heart to be put to paper. It may seem easier for some people to roll eloquent words off their tongue, if that is not you, please still strive to allow the beauty that is in your heart, to be given away to others.