Sometimes, one word can mean everything; it can be the tip of a powerful emotional and spiritual iceberg that hints at something much more meaningful and lasting underneath.
Several years ago I was listlessly lounging around in a long line waiting to board an airplane to somewhere distant and doing what I always do- missing my better half. My heart was momentarily soft and fertile ground for tender emotions. Standing right in front of me was a grey-haired gentlemen much older than me, smiling and chatting amicably with a much younger 30-something wholesome-looking blue-eyed beauty. Their casual, familiar banter made it obvious that they were related somehow. Was she his daughter? granddaughter? Hard to tell. All I could tell from bits of randomly overheard conversation was that they knew each other well, and he was going away for an extended length of time... and she was not.
Soon the loose line in front of us instinctively started organizing and compacting- we were about to board. The charming young lady gave her father/grandfather a warm, final hug and started to walk away. She was about ten feet away when the elderly father figure turned around to throw out one final edict of advice- “Be good!” She paused for a moment, and then with smiling eyes meant to wrap ultimate comfort around an old man's weathered heart, replied softly but convincingly with one precious word of promise- “Always!”
For some unknowable reason, I had apparently wandered into the line of conversational fire. Her one-word covenant permanently froze that moment in time for me. Why? Even to this day I'm not completely sure. They were just two random strangers saying goodbye- I still don't know who they are. It's only one word in one moment, but perhaps it stuck so well because I was deep in yearning for the companionship of my own eternal companion- always.