My brother-in-law’s annual hey-here’s-newish-music-you-probably-haven’t-heard-since-you-have-kids CD contains the excellent (and previously unknown to me) Avett Brothers song I And Love And You. The song prominently repeats the lament/regret/lyric:

Three words that became hard to say
I and Love and You

After hearing it a few times, George interrupted and said “Those aren’t hard words!” While he was right, the disconnect was funny enough that I had to pull over for a few seconds before I could safely resume driving home.

Yes, George, the words themselves aren’t difficult. But as you’ll learn, words have meaning only in context and in relationship with each other. For this reason, ‘I Love You’ – usually a defining a nervous landmark in a romantic relationship – can be much harder to say than ‘I love Rhododendrons.’

There will probably be many words that you find difficult to say as life goes on. Here’s a few that have tripped me up from time to time (with varying degrees of difficulty and seriousness):

  • I’m sorry
  • I was wrong
  • Are you busy Friday night?
  • Sooners lost
  • Will you marry me?
  • He/she died
  • No

Words like these are hard to say because they reveal a truth or a desire. Saying them makes it real. Don’t be afraid of the real; those afraid of the real never really live.*

As long as words are tactful (an important caveat), then they probably should be said, even if difficult. And the more you say such things, the easier they become.

* We’ll stop here before this sounds much more like Kierkegaardian existentialism (speaking of difficult words!)