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Biting My Tongue

By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach—Winston Churchill

(Thanks to Julie D. at Happy Catholic for the quote)

I love my extended family and having them healthy enough to visit is a blessing. Because of our military life we have never lived within a day’s drive of our loved ones. So family gatherings are an extraordinary event. However, having too many matriarchs under one roof can lead to friction.

I know words that set my teeth on edge will be said. I know that when we all gather to prepare meals, whoever fixes the mashed potatoes will do it differently than I do it. Even though I have been keeping my own house for over twenty-five years there will be recommendations that I change my methods. And then the dreaded discussions of weight! I want to scream when one particular relative insists on analyzing everyone’s fanny size compared to the last time she saw them.

There is no point in countering their words with more words. The truth is I love my family and they love me. That love will survive in spite of mashed potatoes, housekeeping styles, and fanny sizes. Words over silly annoyances only obscure that love. Two weeks from now if I find I have permanent teeth marks in my tongue, the family visit will have been a success. The only words that are absolutely necessary are, “I love you”.


Tony said…
I want to scream when one particular relative insists on analyzing everyone’s fanny size compared to the last time she saw them.

*Biting my tongue* :)

Have you ever talked to that particular relative and explained how hurtful her little "fanny contests" are (One on one, like St. Paul suggests)?

The reason I'm saying this is that sometimes when people say something, they don't know what you are hearing.

I had a teaching moment with my 16 year old daughter. She is learning that not only should what you say be truthful, you should check to see if it's hurtful and if so, is it necessary.

A lady at our local parish (who has ingratiated herself with the pastor, and is coordinating all the ministries) caught me before choir rehersal and asked if I was going to see Drew.

I need to add a little history here. We had recently had a necessary shakeup at our church which necessated the new pastor to make some administrative changes. One of the changes that was made was the Music Director / Liturgy Director's contract was not renewed.

We had one of the best choirs in the area and put on the best performances (you caught that, didn't you? :)).

We had a temporary music director from another parish who played guitar, a teenaged fellow who played piano, and about a half a dozen choir members / cantors.

This lady told me that when I saw Drew, to let him know that "Christmas is very important, and if we need to hire outside musicians, Father has given his ok".

I asked my daughter: "What did I hear?"

She said: "You're not good enough".

I said: "Precisely".

But I asked my daughter if she thought the lady meant to be hurtful, and she said she didn't know (my daughter has problems assuming the best motives in people). I said that I didn't think so, and I told her: "Thank you, we'll keep that in mind".

I told my duaghter to try, when she is talking to people, to guess what they might be hearing when she speaks.
Sarah said…
I really relate with you here, especially on the biting your tongue part. Hope it went OK...and that those three important words are the ones that made it out of your mouth!

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