Don’t just think it. Say it.

16 07 2010

George, Jacob, and I spent six weeks living with Curtis and Grace when Harper was born. We slept in their mostly finished garage remodel — a lovely addition that will soon be completely functional as a rehearsal studio for Jubilee and an efficiency apartment — but the rest of the time we all occupied the 900 square feet of cozy home they call Gypsy Cottage.

Six weeks of sharing living space, meals, and their only shower. I can think of a lot of people I would not want to spend six weeks cohabiting with, but the Romjues made the entire experience a pure delight, and one of the things I loved most was the opportunity to witness their day-to-day life. I could say a lot about that, but today I want to focus on a single observation that made a profound impression on me.

Ever since I met Curtis, I’ve known he was an extremely intentional and passionate person. Living with him for a month and a half magnified one beautiful aspect of that intentionality. Whenever Curtis thinks something good or lovely about a person, he says it. I lost count of the times he looked at Grace and then said something like, “You’re so beautiful,” or “I’m so attracted to you right now.” (That second one is a favorite–gotta love a guy who can say that to his wife in front of his mother-in-law.) He did the same with me and George. (Affirmed us, that is. He didn’t tell us he was attracted to us. Awkward.) And none of this is premeditated or manipulative. Curtis is one of the most candid, guileless people I’ve met in my entire life. He could be the poster child for “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” In the best sense.

Being on the receiving end of Curtis’ loving words — feeling that kind of warmth, acceptance, and admiration — makes a person want to go forth and do likewise. I’ve always wondered why I don’t express many of the compliments I think in my head. I’ll notice how nice someone looks, but say nothing. I’ll observe a kind or polite deed, and fail to acknowledge it. Why do I do this? Everyone can use encouragement. Everyone else loves sincere appreciation as much as I do.

So today I acted. I was making my lunch when I recalled a recent conversation with George that underscored his love for Christ and commitment to His kingdom and to me. The memory prompted a spontaneous prayer. “Lord, thank You for George. He’s such a good man.”

Right after I silently offered that prayer, George walked into the kitchen, and I had a WWCD moment. I turned from my lunch prep and said, “I’m borrowing a page from Curtis’ play book. I want to tell you what I was just thinking.” Then I told him about my prayer.

He grinned. “You only prayed that because the pork in the crock pot smells so good.”

(Aside: Yes, it’s true. Not only can my husband afford to shop at WalMart, he also cooks. Again, sorry ladies. Mine all mine.)

I laughed and said, “It does smell delicious, but that’s not what prompted my prayer.” I reminded him of our conversation, which gave me the opportunity to affirm him further.

Such a small thing. No great effort involved. Simply speaking my heart to the man who has loved me so well for more than thirty-one years, letting him know one of the many ways he enriches my life by being part of it.

And now I’m taking it a step further. First, to everyone who reads this blog, who encourages me with your friendship and comments, thank you for touching my life. I appreciate you, and I plan to be more proactive in expressing that appreciation. I also have a mission for you, should you choose to accept it: Keep your eyes open. Consider why you love the people you love. Then do what Curtis would do.

Don’t just think it. Say it.


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10 responses

16 07 2010
~ Patricia

I LOVE this, Jeanne. WONDERFUL challenge. I’m going to write WWCD on my fridge chalkboard right now (I need visual reminders for everything these days). Thank YOU for touching MY life. Much love, Patricia

16 07 2010
jeannedamoff

Patricia, you are definitely one of those people who constantly speaks love and encouragement to others. It has been a pleasure getting to know you these recent months.

Love the chalkboard idea. Maybe we can start a new trend . . . 🙂

xo

16 07 2010
Mary DeMuth

I love Curtis! I love George! I love you all! Such a great post. Thanks! And I’m thankful I get to be in your encouraging corner.

16 07 2010
jeannedamoff

The love flows both ways, Mary, and so does the thankfulness. My corner is abundantly blessed to have you in it.

16 07 2010
Robin - PENSIEVE

Jeanne, would it surprise you to know this is how I see you already? You have always offered me the most generous and encouraging comments, and I’ve observed your thoughtfulness in action.

Your post is both lovely portrait of Curtis and wonderful inspiration to speak kindness into the lives of others. Love it!

16 07 2010
jeannedamoff

Robin, you’re so adorable, you make it easy for anyone to speak generously and encouragingly to you. Thanks for all the ways you make the world a brighter, more compassionate place. And thanks for making me laugh, cry, and think. I always love glimpses into your heart.

18 07 2010
Melissa

Love this! 🙂 Think I’ll share it on facebook if you don’t mind.

18 07 2010
jeannedamoff

Thanks, Melissa. I don’t mind at all. I’d be honored.

21 07 2010
Heather "Ikea's Lil' Sis"

I would have to agree – I’ve always found you quick to encourage and honest in a way that speaks truth without speaking judgment. It’s one of the reasons I heart you. I feel like anyone who knows you gets to be a small part of your almost-like-superheroes-in-their-ridiculously-good-deedy-and-totally-genuine-way family, and that’s a blessing.

hugs and squeezes.

21 07 2010
jeannedamoff

Aw, Heather. You’re such a love. My “almost-like-superheroes-in-their-ridiculously-good-deedy-and-totally-genuine-way” family is blessed that you’re a small part of it. 🙂

xo, J.

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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