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…that’s what my college roommate used to tell me every time I spoke without thinking — which was often. As SueBE discussed in her most recent post, oftentimes — especially when it comes to the newfangled media we use daily — we speak or write without fully thinking through the ramifications. I know I do. Mea culpa. Guilty as charged. My brain is only tenuously connected to my mouth in the best of circumstances. So what do I end up doing? Opening my mouth and inserting my foot, over and over again. I can issue all the blanket apologies in the world, but that won’t cut it; not when people are hurt. So, what to do? Short of a mystery illness robbing me of my ability to speak for all of time to come (something I’ve actually wished for), I can pray for change.

Struck dumb — I mean stupid,
startlingly so — and yet the words flow,
a curious experiment gone wrong,
incongruous fluids knocked from vials,
pooling into something strange:
Will I turn into a giant? Or a fly?
Will caustic chemicals rip through
flesh or will they coalesce, landing
with a thud — a rotten egg, an elephant
in the room, all heavy feet and gray
implacability? God, lift my tongue
or snip it. The wiring is bad or else
I’ve lost the remote control. Either way,
words are imperfect. Unfixable.
Sharp and irrevocable. I need a new
language, a learned vernacular:
with as many words for love
as the Sami have for “snow.”
White. Blanketing. Hushed.
Words that rise like prayers,
like steam from a hot bath,
like the susurrous sound
of a sigh. Or silence.
Silence will do.

We’ve all heard the advice, think before you speak.  Of course, it also extends to thinking before you tweet, post or comment.  Too bad I don’t always remember that!

This morning an acquaintance posted two photos of her old house.  One was the two-story Victorian as she and her husband had restored it. She made sure we were clear on that – they had restored it to how it should have been when they bought it.  Then she shared a photo of how the most recent owner, now selling the house, had repainted the exterior.

Restored featured shell pink with white trim.

The new paint job is purple with gold, not metallic, trim.

My first thought was that in the west Texas sun, the pink looked faded and tired.  Not to mention I hate pink.  Really.  Unless its raspberry which is so sassy I have to love it.  But anyway, I digress.  I knew better than to say the house looked faded.

My second thought was to be honest and tell her that I like the purple better, because it is a strong color and I like strong colors.  And it doesn’t look faded and tired.  Fortunately, my filter once again engaged.

Then I realized that the pink was better.  Think how much easier that color would be to paint over!

Wait, no.  Strike that comment.

In the end, I kept my big mouth shut, an all too rare occurrence.

Often God works slowly, or at least that’s how it seems to we mortals as we rush around and demand heavenly solutions now, Now, NOW!   But slow is often what we need. It gives us time to situate ourselves, casting aside what will get in the way, developing more positive habits.

It is hard to trust and feel hear during these great expanses of time.  This seems to be especially true today as we Tweet and post and get feedback almost instantaneously.  We equate these rapid responses with deep approval.

God works slower than that and that’s okay.  Because what God builds we can rely on.  Social media?  Not so much.



Have a Mary Little Christmas

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