A couple years ago when my husband Bill was doing some carpentry work for this sweet Italian man named Vic, Bill came home from work one day with a little saying of Vic's that we still use to this day. Bill had been telling him about a project he was working on and how he was almost done with it. Vic slapped him vigorously on the shoulder and said, "Good for you!"- but he meant this. He really did.He was beaming as he said it. His eyes lit up, Bill said.
Now Bill and I say this a lot. Over little accomplishments and big ones. To our children, to our friends. It's probably the modern day equivalent of that Scripture verse about rejoicing with those who rejoice.
I like things that get right to the point; sayings that are short and sweet... and powerful.
Back when I was pregnant with my son and we were living up in the White mountains of New Hampshire, there was another sweet, funny man in our life- Mr. Kaminsky. He lived below us on a little hill- you could see his house from our picture window. We had a hyper Springer Spaniel named Spenser who got loose quite frequently or would pull out of our grasp and go running through the streets and jump on people. But Mr. Kaminsky loved Spenser, and every morning there Mr. Kaminsky would be, tottering on his cane, very unsteady on his feet, standing out in his front yard and calling up to us, "Let 'em go!! Just let him go!!"
That's what we say to each other when we're flooded with worries or concerns- "Let em go!" That's what we encourage our loved ones with when they've got that anxious look on their face- "Just let 'em go!"
And then this week, I read Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird for the umpteenth time. I told Bill I'm in love with Anne Lamott. She can say the most brilliant of things in the most self effacing way. She gets right to the point about things, and in dealing with her own insecurity and pettiness, she touches on mine. Like the way she talks about criticism and how some people relish giving it to you. If someone is "too strident or adamant, ditch the sucker," she says, only partially tongue-in-cheek.
Then she shares the story of how she went shopping for a dress to wear on a date, and her friend Pammy went with her. Pammy was dying of cancer, in a wheelchair, wearing a wig. Annie kept trying on dresses , asking what every normal woman asks, "Do you think this makes my hips look too big?" and Pammy answered, short and sweet, to the point- "Anne? I really don't think you have that kind of time."
It just might be that these three pithy sayings are all you need to respond to someone. No matter what the problem is, what you're facing, what you're rejoicing over, what you're going through, one of these saying is appropriate.
For those celebrating today, for those who've won a victory- "GOOD FOR YOU!!"
For those of my readers overwhelmed with worries- "Let 'em go! Just let 'em go!!"
And for anyone dealing with spiraling morale or diminishing confidence, or for those questioning their sanity or capability (like I am), just look in the mirror and admonish yourself, "I really don't think you have time for that."