This incident happened awhile ago but it still rankles me.
I’m not one to insist we need to self-censor everything we say or share because it *might* offend someone else. That’s just exhausting!
But…BUT…when someone makes me aware that I’m adding to their burden with my words I’m quick to shut up.
Laying down idle conversation is a small price to pay to love a friend well.
I had a very uncomfortable exchange with someone at church Wednesday night.
We have a light potluck dinner each Wednesday before Bible Study and I’m on kitchen duty. So I was uncovering dishes, adding spoons and getting things ready when conversation erupted around me about a “horrible wreck just up the road.”
I kept silent and tried to focus on the plastic wrap and aluminum foil but couldn’t help hearing the animated relaying of detail after detail until it reached a crescendo ending in someone declaring that, “Well, those people just drive too fast. They don’t even care about themselves.”
Honesty is not inherently rude. Even when what’s spoken doesn’t sit well with the person listening to it.
It took awhile for me to figure that out on this journey.
Tone matters, facial expression matters, words matter. But I don’t have to stuff truth in service to the comfort of others.
I never ask anyone to adjust the thermostat in a car or at home unless I’m suffocating or shivering.
It’s a point of personal pride that I can tolerate a wider range of temperatures than most people.
And for awhile, I carried that same prideful disdain for “weaker folks” into my grief journey.
I was determined to endure whatever blows might come my way via comments, behavior, subtle and not-so-subtle attempts by others to circumscribe, dictate or otherwise influence my loss experience. I didn’t want to abandon pride in my own strength by admitting I wasn’t as strong as I wished I could be.
Then one day I realized that being honest was not the same as being rude. Telling the truth was not the same as acting selfishly.
If others had access to my view of this WordPress site they’d marvel at the number of post drafts I’ve left unfinished.
As of today, it’s over a thousand.
But I won’t let them go until I feel like I’ve gotten them right. And lately I haven’t been able to do that.
It’s not traditional writer’s block because I still have lots to say, still put words on [virtual] paper and still dictate random notes onto my phone when walking or driving.
I just can’t finish the thoughts.
I’m not sure if it’s a function of the unprecedented times in which we find ourselves, the sudden and unexpected change of having my husband work from home or what I call my “season of sorrow” that lasts from the end of March through the end of May but something is definitely mucking up the works.
I hope to find a few hours soon to sit down in silence with my own thoughts and my computer and finish up new posts I’ve started.