Four Words

We were driving back home from an appointment with my son’s therapist. My son – sitting in the passenger seat, the hood from his jacket over his head, headphones on over that – was looking down at his iPod. It was warm and sunny. A bright day.

Nice.

He was listening to his music. I had the radio on. We were in our own worlds. And then, out of nowhere came four words. Four simple words strung together to make a simple sentence. A short group of words that people say all the time. A simple sentence that could have easily been overlooked. An observation that was ordinary by most standards.

But there was nothing ordinary about those four words.

“Those flowers are beautiful.”

My son, whose life is consumed with debilitating depression, bouts of strangulating anxiety, and moments where death seems the only way out, looked up from his iPod and out of the car window. He looked out the car window into a field of bright green grass and clumps of purple wildflowers. I can’t even tell you what kind of flowers they were. I was driving and listening to music. But somewhere in his brain, he remembered that flowers are beautiful. And out loud he acknowledged that there was beauty out there in the world.

Beauty was possible because of those little flowers.

“Those flowers are beautiful.”

I know what you’re thinking. What’s the big deal with someone making a comment about flowers? Why does this even warrant an entire blog? Those four words spoken spontaneously and earnestly gave me hope. Those four words were a gift from my son to me. They meant more than the obvious meaning of those four words. They meant that deep down, tucked away in the darkness, there was light.

And I hadn’t see that light in years.

I thought a lot about those four words. It made me feel like maybe his meds were starting to work again. It made me feel like maybe he was feeling more hopeful. More aware. More like everything out there wasn’t all dark and sad.

It doesn’t take much. And this time it only took four simple words. Four simple words to remind me that gratitude is essential. Four words that were a surprise and a gift. Four words that made me feel hopeful for his future.

I know.

But when all you hear and see is darkness, even the tiniest bit of light makes a big difference.

Those four words could have easily been missed. I was driving. I was listening to music. I was feeling tired and thinking about all of the things I needed to do when we got home. But lucky for me I noticed. I heard those four words. I even asked where he was looking, but we had already driven by. But he knew I heard him. I knew he said them.

And I am so thankful I was listening.

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