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“I kept my mouth shut.” (Conversation starter)

"It almost killed me to do so, but I kept my mouth shut...."

Tell us about a situation in which you found you had to just shut up, or you'd be in really big trouble, one way or another, or just a big bore, or unkind.

For John Flinn, it was that no place is ever as good as it used to be...if you got there first...but, what do you say to the folks who got there after you?

"So," I said, trying to keep a neutral tone, "what do you think of Kathmandu?"

"Fantastic!" said one. "What an amazing place!" said another "It's even better than I thought it would be.

It almost killed me to do so, but I kept my mouth shut.

( from San Francisco Chronicle, G3, Sunday, June 10, 2007)

For me, someone came up to me on the retreat to apologize for something that happened here last year. Fortunately, whatever it was, I'd forgotten all about it. She was just doing her best, to the best of her capacity, to follow the teachings on taking responsibility and being kind. My kindness was to let her check me off her apology list.

But, truly, I think there should be a statute of limitations on offering apologies...except for the big stuff...otherwise, the little slings and arrows of life I've previously let go of (and in the tradition of my family I'm a great grudge-holder, so letting go of awkward moments is a big accomplishment for me) just come back to rub, like sand rubbing a tender foot inside new shoes.

But, me? It almost killed me to do so, I just kept my mouth shut and allowed her this moment of her version of kindness. And, moved on to re-forgetting the original incident. Forgiveness is easy. It's the forgetting that's hard.

So, what did you keep your mouth shut about recently?

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4 Responses »

  1. Yes, sometimes silence is golden...there was a time I wish I'd kept my mouth shut...let's just say, "Big mouth caused a big bark next door."

  2. Yup....discretion is the better part of valor.

  3. Janet,

    Wouldn't we all like to change the world! Especially the world we're living in now full of killing, hatred, and bigotry.

    I'd also like to change the opinions of some of my friends. I will often stand up and give them my point of view. But too often, I just sigh and swallow my opinion and figure that's easier than losing a friend.

    Thanks for the interesting topic!

  4. It's about Forebearance, isn't it?

    In the financial world: A borrower who is willing but unable to make payments, and who does not qualify for a deferment, may request forbearance from the lender.

    In the spiritual world, Corinthians and Coleridge say it best:

    Forebearance
    by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1834)

    (Beareth all things.---1 Cor. xiii. 7.)

    Gently I took that which ungently came,
    And without scorn forgave : Do thou the same.
    A wrong done to thee think a cat's-eye spark
    Thou wouldst not see, were not thine own heart dark.
    Thine own keen sense of wrong that thirsts for sin,
    Fear that--the spark self-kindled from within,
    Which blown upon will blind thee with its glare,
    Or smother'd stifle thee with noisome air.
    Clap on the extinguisher, pull up the blinds,
    And soon the ventilated spirit finds
    Its natural daylight. If a foe have kenn'd,
    Or worse than foe, an alienated friend,
    A rib of dry rot in thy ship's stout side,
    Think it God's message, and in humble pride
    With heart of oak replace it ; thine the gains--
    Give him the rotten timber for his pains !

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