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Words that Last for Good

It’s humbling to consider which of the many words we speak to acquaintances will be remembered decades later. Like the room mom who told eight-year-old me I was a complainer on a field trip (I was and I am, God forgive me). Or the pastor’s wife who informed me that my problem is I didn’t know how to share (I’m not sure exactly what she meant, but I’ve been pondering it for twenty years).  Or the women in Latin America who pleaded with us (American teenagers) to take their babies back to the U.S. Often the words we remember are heart-wrenching or critical, but sometimes they are beautiful and inspirational. Like the grandma who said through a translator that kids whose fathers hold them a lot have better dispositions (no official study to cite, but I think she’s right). Or the new friend who described time with our family as “life-giving”. Or the border officer who smiled as he said, “Welcome home” when our swollen feet finally planted on American ground after forty hours of travel.   I
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