Over the years, my mom and dad received plenty of encouragement regarding the ways in which they were raising my younger brother, Steven, who has Downs syndrome. People in the community have always been so willing to help.

My parents opened a few signed and unsigned letters in which someone in their life shared their thoughts with them.

Decades later, I am finding those letters. It may be safe to say I am feeling some of the same emotions my parents felt. I am left thinking someone took the time to write them a note. And put some postage on the envelope. And place the letter in the mail.

We will forever wonder who sent those unsigned letters. And why did they think it best to remain anonymous?

It made me think about our choices of good and bad words. Our choices are free. We can choose good. We can choose bad.

If we speak the words, they are spoken forever. If we write the words, they are written forever. In today’s world, the words we choose to text are texted forever.

The day came when I started writing some poems. I wrote “A Baby Toes Prayer” and didn’t realize it was a poem. I referred to it as a prayer. My writing friends had to tell me it’s okay if the words don’t rhyme – it’s still a poem.

My mother and Aunt Verda were clever writers who took the time to make their sentences rhyme. It puts a smile on my face when I come upon some of their writings.

After finding an anonymous note that my parents received back in 1997, I wrote a poem about the sharing of good words. What takes just a second for us to say, can last a lifetime for others. 

The Gift of Good Words

Thank You, Lord, for the beautiful words

You give to me to give to others.

What a choice You have provided.

It’s so simple and doesn’t cost a cent to give good words away –

to be cherished by those who receive them.

They tuck my thoughts away somewhere, never to be forgotten.

Like a hidden treasure, they bring them out when needed most.

May they once again hear my voice and that of Yours, too.

So, Lord, please help me with the words I will someday give away.

Stop me when I’m thinking thoughts I really ought not think

 For thoughts become words that might escape

and cannot be caught if they mistakenly get away.

May I choose to remember I can lift someone up.

I can make their day.

I can let them know how wonderful they really are

and all it took was words I chose to say.

Thank You, Lord,

for the beautiful language You gave to me

and help me in my choice of words

I long to thoughtfully give away.

© Marlene Oxender 2022