Thursday, December 5, 2013

A New Word

Two dentist appointments gave me my word for 2014.

I was not even looking for it - yet - this early, weeks away from 2014. Tell me it is still a long time until the New Year, right?

Quiet was my word for 2013. I am not a perfectly accomplished expert on "quiet." But it helped. I learned.


Our son went in for his dental cleaning and evaluation for those last six baby teeth that are causing double rows and misalignment. The diagnosis: wiggle wiggle wiggle those babies out.

The hygienist, Lisa, worked with him with patience and calm. As she concluded with his all-around x-ray, she mentioned she has an autistic son, and I understood her patience and gentleness.

The next morning, it was my turn. A deep cleaning, those pointy metal tools digging in under my gums, scraping. Lovely.

We had a pleasant conversation, probably taking more of her time than we should have because we connected, deeply. Lisa told me of her son, his struggles at school, scenarios with him in public, challenges at home with his attitudes. Although our son's situations are quite different, she recognized similarities and expressed her sensitivity (except on my gums - but that was her job).

And there was the word, with a quiet, "Ta-dah!"

Above all, she wants her son to know that he is welcome. No matter how others react to him, no matter what happens, he is welcome with her, a part of their family, in their home. She saw in us, our son and me, a similar attitude of welcome.

I think of, and work toward acceptance, but welcome has deeper levels. As I thought of the meanings of welcome, I sketched out this list:
  • invitation
  • listen
  • greet
  • hospitality
  • accept
  • honor
  • open the door
  • prepare a place
  • open heart
  • willing
  • focus on the people
  • time together
  • not too busy
  • flexibility
  • receive
  • give
The more I thought of it, there is another list. To welcome these, too:
  • inconveniences
  • interruptions
  • disappointment
  • discouragement
  • pain
  • challenges
  • criticism
  • imperfections
  • inconsistencies
  • frustrations
  • inadequacies
  • blame
  • shame
When I want to close the door - or rather (to be honest), to slam this door on uncomfortable things, my first response should be to welcome them. Ouch. Tough to do. I have much to learn.

I'm sure you could add your own ideas to these lists. What else do you think of?


I grabbed one of the refrigerator magnets to stick on the grocery list. In my hand was a cross-stitched house, underneath, the word, "Welcome." Our daughter made it years and years ago. I saw it with new eyes, new heart, and I had to smile. How many years have I seen and used that magnet, thinking only of hospitality? 

Now, it will be a reminder to welcome the good and the uncomfortable in my days and in the people and relationships around me. Our dental hygienist opened a door for me. A door with a wider perspective, a fresh view of what it means to welcome the gifts of each day. Even when those gifts are challenging and I would rather slam that door. Welcome them. Welcome the work of each day. Welcome those in my home. Welcome - throw my arms wide and say, "Welcome, come on in. Let's talk."

Thank you, Lisa. 

Emily Freeman, Chatting at the Sky, is hosting a link up, Tuesdays Unwrapped. "To write about an ordinary day and the miracle secret it holds."

Have you considered a theme word for 2014 yet?


  1. "Thank-you," said the one.
    "You're welcome," said the other.

    I never stopped to think much about what might be (or should or could be) behind these polite manners until reading this post today. I think I'll have to visit it again.

    1. Yes, I'm glad you saw the same thing. "You're welcome," has a whole new meaning. Haven't completely sorted it out yet, but am working on it. A welcoming attitude, filled not just gratefulness but acceptance. There is much depth waiting to be mined.

  2. Oh, are you really reading Ginger Pye aloud? I read it aloud, too. Fun. Eleanor Estes uses fabulous (grade-level-free) vocabulary.

    1. Yes, finished it up, started Swiss Family Robinson - guess I need to change the list. Our son loved the mystery of the yellow hat man, and did guess ahead it was the boy. Good lessons in preconceived thinking, being open and creative to other possibilities - even in the people around us. We read it after you recommended it on your blog - thank you!