10/19/10

Words That Hurt, Words That Heal.


My mom swears by the book [by Joseph Telushkin] because it highlights our responsibility to guard our tongues.

The concept is as old as the golden rule, and it's rooted in scripture. And my dear mom, bless her heart, lives by the tenets in her daily life, thanks to an abundance of patience that she clearly needed in HEAPS while raising crazy kids like us. She also delivers nuggets of advice when we're being particularly mouthy.

That may or may not happen a lot. *ahem* In real life, when I don't have time to edit my thoughts and arrange them in some semblance of order, I tend to get myself into trouble by speaking my mind - bluntly. I always have.

I'm getting better about my phrasing and my tone - 'what brings you to that conclusion?' sounds a lot better than 'Um, that's not even CLOSE to correct!' - but it's a process. It only occurs to me AFTER I've said something blunt that a recipient might wear his or her feelings on his or her sleeve.

Because I'm BRILLIANT like that.

It usually irritates me, though, I'm not gonna lie. As mature adults living in a very diverse world, we will ALWAYS have to deal with people who don't agree with us. Why fight a different opinion when you can take it in stride and learn from it? It's not all about YOU. Maybe it's just an opinion, not a blow to your personal, delicate feelings, for goodness sakes.

Calm your sensitive little self, SELFISH.

But that's not patience and gentleness and self control, nor is it in ANY way a practical application of Proverbs 15:1. Remember that one? It says this:

By a soft answer wrath is turned away, but a bitter word is a cause of angry feelings.
[Bible In Basic English Translation]

Ouch.

Bloggers have the unique advantage of an editing process. Daily, careful crafting of an image of perfection that happens over time as we dwell on the good and not the bad. For most people, it's not even a conscious effort to shape a perfect virtual persona - it's just easier to write [and read!] about the fun parts of life.

But hiding the real parts doesn't help the real people who read blogs just like this one every day. And as much as I've grown and experienced and learned, and as much as I've been blessed by rich experiences and amazing people in my life, I don't have it all down to an art just yet. Speaking before thinking can hurt more often than it heals.

I'm not perfect, and my spiritual fruit basket isn't always as full as it should be. That's life. That's humanity. But I'm growing. I'm learning. And I'm adding a little more fruit every day.

It's all a part of the journey.
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