Saving the Day

By Sheila Kindred

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Let us oft speak kind words to each other (Hymns, no 232).

The neighbors soon would be here to share dinner at our home,

Mother was preparing it while talking on the phone.

She wasn’t being careful opening up the oven door;

She burned her hand and dropped a pan of meat loaf on the floor.

Now, Mother isn’t usually a person who gets sore,

But this, I guess, was much too much—she just could take no more.

She bit her lip and tried to keep from making any sound,

Then took a rag and bent to clean the mess upon the ground.

But when she slipped, she gave a gasp and words came tumbling out,

Words of anger, spoken soft—she didn’t ever shout.

But Brother happened by just then and heard the words she said.

He looked like he would burst apart unless the words he spread.

He looked around in panic, wanting somehow to be free,

And when he saw that I was there, he told those words to me.

I had the words, what could I do? I really had a choice:

To keep the words inside of me, or give the words my voice.

My baby sister toddled by and gave a piercing cry,

A noise that sets my nerves on end and causes me to sigh.

I almost told the words to her, because she gave me bother.

I thought it might give me relief—but then I thought of Mother.

If Sister’s cries annoyed me so when I was being lazy,

Mother, cooking frantically, they simply must drive crazy.

I knew I had another choice of what to do right now,

I’d change those angry words inside to loving words somehow.

I pulled my sister to my lap to play a quiet game.

My brother watched and smiled at us; his face was not the same.

“Come play with us,” I said to him, but he just shook his head.

“I must go to the kitchen and do something else, instead.”

My mother seemed surprised to see him come into the room.

“It’s all right, Mom. I’m here,” he said, and went to get the broom.

“You’re wonderful,” my mother said. “You’ve really saved the day.

I’m sorry I was angry and sent thoughtless words your way.”

Now everyone was happy, and the angry words were gone.

My brother hummed a happy tune; my mother sang a song.

So here is something you can do when mad words come your way:

Change them into words of love—and you might save the day!

Illustrated by Shauna Mooney Kawasaki