Speaking from the heart

It seems that lately, Mondays are difficult days on which to blog. I imagine they’re also difficult days on which to read blogs. So perhaps I’ve done us all a favor.

My excuse this week? I got in from a trip in the wee hours of Monday morning, after missing a connecting flight and being fortunate to have secured the last standby slot in the last flight back to Washington late Sunday. It was a grueling day following a lovely business-with-pleasure trip, so I tried to keep my spirits high.

Sure, I shot dirty looks to a young mother who smacked her infant for squealing in a gate area. I sighed audibly and walked away when I overheard a couple engaging in senseless political rants. I even snapped just a bit at a gate agent, but later thanked her warmly when she found me that last seat on the plane back home.

That last seat happened to be beside a woman whose husband was in another row. When she asked if I might be willing trade my aisle seat for her husband’s middle seat so they could sit together, I obliged.

I was glad I did. The conversation I had with a gentleman in my row turned out to be so enjoyable that it made nearly three hours pass in a flash. We discovered much in common, including that we both think a lot about words.

He shared that he is making a concerted effort to avoid beginning sentences with “but;” not so much as a matter of grammar, but as a matter of harmony. “But” can erect a wall in a conversation. It can minimize someone else’s point. I found that interesting.

Then he shared a challenge that had been on his mind. I am not sure if he’ll ever read this and, if so, I hope he won’t mind my putting his dilemma out for discussion.

 His stepdaughter is getting married soon and has asked him to give her away, in place of her late father. This man will undoubtedly be called upon, formally or informally, to speak about his role at this occasion, and he wants to have just the right words at hand.

My fellow passenger never met his stepdaughter’s father, but thinks that, based on what he knows of the man, that they might have been good friends. There were even some interesting coincidences. I got the sense he is honored to be asked to step into the role.

I told him about How to Say It, a book that suggests the right words for almost any occasion. I suggested that he simply speak from his heart, express his affection for his stepdaughter and go from there.  I had told him that I have a wide circle of creative and sensitive readers, from whom I learn much nearly every day. While we didn’t exchange contact information, I did give him my blog address.

Based on knowing him for three hours, I have no doubt that John Q. Passenger could speak from his heart quite beautifully on this occasion. Still, I’d love to help him out.

So, on the off chance he finds his way here (and provided he didn’t give up after seeing no post yesterday), may I ask you to share your advice about what he might say, in conversation or perhaps in a toast during the wedding festivities—again, as the stepfather of the bride, who has the honor of walking her down the aisle?

I know you’ll have some good ideas.  Thanks!

4 Comments

Filed under All Things Wordish, Travel

4 responses to “Speaking from the heart

  1. Perhaps he might fit somewhere into the conversation that he knows what a wonderful father his step-daughter had because all parents leave a part of themselves in their children and she is such a wonderful person. How nice of you to have had such an easy conversation with a stranger.

  2. Monica, you are blessed with your “Our Town” gift of does anyone ever realize life every, every minute?” from Emily Webb in the lovely play by Wilder. Being a step mom, I look to the word “good.” It looks funny and it even sounds foreign as one may say. But it looks like he will have quite the insight from meeting you, thinking about it, reading your more than blog, and words have a way of finding for once and for all, the very meaning they intend if from the heart. What another enjoyable slice of life we all get from your observant encounters. Thank you. BTW. I have long thought of what toast I may give for my two children if they ever decide to marry – which when they do, knowing them and having shared the best and hardest of times, will be their right choice.

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