It was one of those days. A certain "theme" seemed to follow me right through my day.
This morning, while visiting with a friend, they shared something that would have definitely been best left unsaid. It was a bit more than I needed to know about someone else and their personal situation. I practiced a little lesson taught by a friend...said, "That's really unfortunate." I said no more. They got the hint and said no more.
Later in the day, I had an "encounter" with a professional where I knew that silence was best. When I woke up, I was in the mood to "Give em a piece of my mind". That's how I was raised. "Tell 'em exactly what you're thinking and leave nothing unsaid." I'm here to testify that this is not always the best thing to do. As a matter of fact, I'm here to tell ya that, in most cases, it's better to just count to three. Or a hundred and three. Today, I counted. And it paid off.
Even later in the day, an unexpected visitor dropped by. This visitor had quite the tale, sharing a recent "adventure" where they experienced some very negative happenings. Doug and I looked at each other and could see that this conversation was about to "go south" rapidly. We cautioned the visitor that there was a child in the room. The visitor continued, sharing far more details than Doug or I needed or wantedto hear. First, I sent one of the children out of the room on "an errand" (You know... the proverbial "Can you run and grab this or that so you don't hear what's about to be said" errand.) That wasn't a big enough hint for the storyteller. They continued. At one point, I blatantly said, "Um, I really don't want to know these details." We were assured that it was "okay". Next, Doug interrupted with, "Okay, next!" (Normally, Doug asks, "How 'bout those Jazz?") The "storyteller" persisted and insisted that they would finish the story, literally telling the final details on their way out the door. As we closed the door, Doug and I looked at each other and agreed, "We could have lived without knowing anyof that." Storyteller went away feeling quite proud, I'm certain, that they'd shared "all the gory details". Ew.
And then, later tonight, one of the kids came to me and confessed that they'd shared something about a sibling with a friend that they knew they shouldn't have. "Only part of it, though. But, I should be consquenced because I shouldn't have said anything at all." Thankfully, our children are learning that some things are better left unsaid. No consequence was given. They'd done that on their own just by confessing to the sibling and me.
Years ago. YEARS. I was involved with a group of women. The leader of this group had an influential husband in our community and she was "privy" to more "juicy gossip" than most of the rest of us. Once, while we were working together on a project, a prominent person's name came up and she shared a "story" about this person. It was absolutely the worst piece of gossip about this person or any other that I've ever heard. EVER. Almost thirty years later, I see that person and this story still comes into my mind. The story was so vile that I didn't even share it with Doug ~ not even to say how aggravated I was that I knew the story at the time. I've never repeated a word of it to a soul. Not that I'm so good or wonderful to not talk, but this story was potentially destructive and damaging. AND IT SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN TOLD. Enough said about that one.
And so. My thoughts of this day have been about how important silence really can be. Here's a few points that I've pondered today:
- I believe that silence is a great example of self-control, strength and wisdom.
- I believe that there are times that talking too much can be destructive to, not only the person being talked about, but to the person doing the talking.
- I believe that unsaying something is literally impossible...like collecting dust in the wind. Once words have been spoken, no amount of explaining or apologizing will allow those words to be forgotten. Forgiven, perhaps. But, rarely, if ever, forgotten.
- What you don't see with your eyes, don't witness with your mouth. And sometimes, even if you witness it with your eyes, it's still best to keep quiet.
- I believe that sometimes your silence is the only way to silence someone else. Sometimes silence speaks louder than words. It’s quite difficult to gossip single-handedly.
- I believe with all my heart that that still, small voice speaks most clearly to us when we are quiet and listen. The scripture verse, "Be still, and know that I am God" is powerful.
Silence is the true friend that never betrays.