As before, this was written before 2003-03-06 and is disappearing from my Web site.
I have, in my time online, counseled many people. Occasionally, some of these people will respond to a piece of advice I've given with the words: "That's easy to say."
Well, I know that my saying something is easier than having to do what I suggest, but I would venture to say that this platitude, "Easy to say," is itself rather easy to say. There is rarely even a hint of understanding in these people that what I say may not be easy for me to say. How much I wish I could do more than just speak the truth when the truth offers no immediate consolation. How much I wish I could do more than offer my consolation in mere words. How hard it is, I tell you, to speak the words when I can do nothing more. And how much harder when those words contain the answer that must be effected by the person to whom I speak, that cannot be wrought by my effort, that must be done by that person's choice. I can do many things, but I cannot make a single choice for another human being who has attained the age of decision. In that, as is the case in online counseling, I can do nothing save offer my words and the truth they contain.
The truth one does not wish to hear is not easy for another, who wants that one to hear, to speak.
"Easy to say" is easier to say than what was said.