Ann Farabee: Mean it

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 27, 2018

Deafening silence? Only choice? Paper tablecloth? Civil war? Crash landing? Found missing? Sad smile? Alone together? Freezer burn? Good grief? Pretty ugly?

These are examples of oxymorons, which are a figure of speech where apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction. Interestingly, ‘oxy’ means sharp and ‘moron’ means stupid.

Words are interesting! The word ‘mouse’ certainly has developed a new meaning over the years. ‘Awful’ used to mean full of awe. ‘Nice’ meant foolish.

There are other things we say and hear all the time, that sometimes may leave us wondering. Here are some of my favorites:

I hate to interrupt you. So, why did you?

I’m on my way. This is never specific enough for me.

Just forget about it. That means do not forget about it.

Be there in a minute. Is it ever really a minute?

I’ll come if I can. That usually means they aren’t coming.

No worries. Hearing this causes me to worry.

The idea for this column came about from a recorded comment I hear way too often, “Your call is important to us.” Fifteen minutes later while still on hold, I started to feel that my call was not really important to them.

“Why do they even say that?” I kept thinking, “I’m not important to them. Those are just words. They don’t mean it.” Tap… tap…tap went my fingers as I sat and waited. The more aggravated I became, the more I was gently reminded in my spirit that I, too, may do the same thing. I may say someone is important to me, but my failure to follow through with my actions may fail to show it.

• Actions speak louder than words, but not nearly as often.

• We are what we do… not what we say we will do.

• We can have them with our words and lose them with our actions.

• Our words will get lost. Our actions will be remembered.

• Trust is earned when action meets words.

Words are easy to say, but so often, we fail to follow through after we say them. Our family, our friends, and our coworkers are all affected. As important as we know they are to us, there are times they have been let down by our words not being backed up by our actions.

It’s not intentional. We forget. We run out of time. Sometimes, we may say it and don’t really mean it. Choosing our words more carefully sounds like a good idea. God’s Word says we should. Ecclesiastes 5:2, “For God is in heaven, and thou upon the earth: therefore let thy words be few.”

[I am sure you are wondering, so here’s an update: Even though my call was important to them, I hung up after waiting thirty minutes. They were probably really busy that day.]

Ann is a speaker and teacher. Contact her at or

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