Magic Words Can Lead to Magic in Deeds

Magic Words Can Lead to Magic in Deeds

Uruguay Amethyst Geode

It’s happened to you. You are reading something and you come across one sentence, or a paragraph–WORDS that hold you to the page or your screen. Words that have revealed a thought you’ve had, but expressed in a way that  jumps off the page–like magic.


It was a nice thing for her to say. In her way. With Greta, you have to look out for the nice things buried in the rest of her mean stuff. Greta’s talk is like a geode. Ugly as anything on the outside and for the most part the same on the inside, but every once in a while there’s something that shines through.

I love this passage, because it relays the thoughts of fourteen-year-old June Elbus who tells us the story of her relationship with her Uncle Finn, an artist who died of AIDS. But the “Greta” in the quote is her sister, a few years older, the one she now tangles with on a regular basis. Can they make it right by each other. (The novel is: TELL THE WOLVES I’M HOME by Carol Rifka Brunt.)

June’s words, her reflection is on page 52 of a complex story, but it leaped off the page for me, not only because it’s an insight that will come back to complete the story, help the troubled relationship between the two sisters. But also because it is TRUTH.

In our lives, the people that make us crazy, who we sometimes wish we had never met–they are the ones we must acknowledge as human and in the most surprising moments they can say things or do things that reveal their humanity: something that shines through.

Do you know a person who talks a line that starts to give you hope? And then they turn around and annihilate that hope in what they do. THINK: some politicians!! or a friend, even a family member. And think: what did our mothers or fathers tell us when this happened?

  • Oh, she didn’t mean it.
  • Give the guy a break.
  • Tolerance, could we just have a little tolerance in these situations.

Those are all good suggestions, and as June in the novel learns–and we all learn–some people you give space to, hoping they’ll come around and HAVE YOUR BACK–don’t fail you. They wake up. They arrive when you need them. They cement a bond that might have been broken.

But there are also those that never do come around. They are:

  • the salt in a wound instead of the salt of the earth.
  • Their first thought is of themselves and you can go blow in the wind.

Or actually I might be wrong about both those evaluations. Sometimes we just don’t know why the love we sail over to them, the phone calls, the emails, the attention–falls flat. They might arrive in your life years down the road and think nothing of it. But you do, because you wanted to keep that relationship alive. You wanted to be there for them and they wanted to disappear.

Ironically, great thinkers and leaders know that’s not the way to go. If another human being reaches out to someone, a response should occur. It cannot always be commensurate with need, but one dollar, one meal, one phone call, one smile–is better than none.

So if there’s a person in your life, right today, who you are trying to reach, trying to love or help–listen for the magic words. They might be there–and you’re so angry you can’t hear them. Or they might be disguised in bravado or sorrow. That happens ALL THE TIME. But if you keep on giving of yourself, the right words just might come shining through. They won’t be MEAN. They’ll be the KEYS to more communication.

At the end of the novel, Greta helps June to accomplish an enormous task. She’s her support, she provides encouragement–which is something we all need:

“It’s all going to work out fine…I’ll keep an eye on you.”

Here’s hoping that someone in your life RIGHT NOW will open up, keep an eye on you, give some magic sign that they know you need them and they NEED YOU TOO.

Photo credit: The Crystal Rock Store Uruguay Amethyst Geode











14 thoughts on “Magic Words Can Lead to Magic in Deeds

  1. Boomer Highway has hit an interesting note here. Often times we are so busy or self involved we don’t hear a whisper for help, for love. An old friend of mine seemed unhappy with me for reasons I couldn’t figure out until he dropped a line in an email that brought out his feelings. “….why are you always so busy?” A fair question, without a fair answer. We had lunch over the weekend and found our common ground again. Just a few words was all it took.

    • I love that. I have many people from my past that I need to contact, to reach out to. And not on Facebook, but individually. Thanks for your comment, Bteh

  2. The magic in the words. As in mining, sometimes the treasure is on or near the surface, other times one has to dig deep. Listening, thinking, reflecting, asking – all good mining skills.

    • YES YES. I love that. I’m sure when you are helping someone it’s like that. The jewel that you need to find it NOT right there. You have to dig and dig, gently, so your mining will work. The person will stay and say what they truly need.

  3. I love this Elizabeth! I have so many good people in my life and try to be one in return…the people I don’t have anymore are people I have chosen not to…I have no tolerance anymore for meaness….or for me trying to figure out if they meant what they said…I am fine without them. After you lose someone you love, it is hard to make excuses for people anymore…

    • I totally agree. You have to protect yourself, Renee. Time is precious and there are folks I’ve turned away from if I know they’ll make me sad. Thanks for reading.

  4. OH, how true! Like the old man who used to yell at you growing up. He was just lonely… Taking time to look a little closer can make you see things a little clearer. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Hi Kim, that’s a great story, one many of us can identify with. Thanks for sharing it. Beth

  5. Hi Beth! I agree with the other people who have commented that your post is a good reminder for us all to take the time to dig beyond our preconceived notions about other people. I have a sister who is psychologically challenged and for the most part I deal with her by just withdrawing. I know in my heart I would be there if something drastic happened to her, but meanwhile I hold back because of all the other times I reached out and it turned out badly. Keeping our heart open while maintaining boundaries is a VERY fine line. But I appreciate the reminder that we are all connected in so many ways and one never knows when that bond is needed and important. ~Kathy

    • Love your thoughts. There are some different “characters” in my life and I do what I can to be civil, but then I don’t engage on certain issues. Sometimes a quality will reveal itself and it makes the relationship work. At least on some level. I guess we all need to try–but that’s not saying I always do.

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