aaaand there goes the mouth…!

Posted: October 28, 2013 in Uncategorized
Yesterday in a conversation with a friend, my mouth ran off with me and used an old descriptive term that I don’t use anymore – one that is outdated and inaccurate, when applied to this friend.  One that could be perceived as offensive – sexist – if she didn’t know my heart and intentions.  It is a term I use every single time that I write about her – in the FIRST draft.  My eye always catches it in the edit and saves me, and I quickly stop to update it, glad to have avoided misspeaking another time.
 
Writing is nice like that – we can look at our words and fix them (though if you read here often, you can testify that I don’t catch-and-fix nearly often enough!) But spoken word has a way of slipping past the guard and planting itself out there in the awkward zone, doesn’t it?  I was talking to her from a bathroom stall, so I didn’t see her reaction in the moment.  But I sure did feel my own gaffe keenly, right there behind that closed door.  I wished I could hit “stop” and “rewind” and do another take.  I wanted to retrieve my words.  But in the moment it took me to process all of that, she had already breezed out of the restroom, on to her next task. 
 
Happily, it was as simple to fix as circling back to apologize and explain.  Happily, she DOES know me and was open to hear, and wasn’t looking for a reason to be offended.  Happily, nothing obstructed me from taking care of that business right away, so I didn’t have to go home and agonize over what to do next.
 
Old habits are hard to undo.  This particular habit of referring to my friend’s role/title incorrectly comes from many years of strong teaching that I’ve had to sort through since, choosing carefully what to keep and what to discard or at least rethink.  This is why I write it wrong the first time, every time, and why I often THINK it wrong the first time, thus why I SAID it wrong in that little conversation.  No matter how much my view and understanding have shifted over time to a better, freer perspective, my mind goes back, goes FIRST to the old way.
 
So!  I could get stuck on kicking myself for misspeaking.  I could walk around telling myself how terrible it is that I’m not “over this” by now.  Certainly that is an option of which I have availed myself many other times. 
 
But instead, I think I’ll focus on the positives and the blessings:
 
  • I have a friend who is valuable enough to me to merit go-back-and-fix-it.  Such a friend is a real blessing.
  • I had the presence of mind and courage to just take care of business, instead of having a huge crisis about it.  For me, that is progress. 
  • My friend is not an insecure person who falls off the cliff and becomes difficult when a word has been spoken out of turn.  That too is a gift. 
  • Even though my WORDS are taking forever in the changing, my HEART has changed greatly over the years, re: that old perspective that forms the wrong words.
  • I understand that if I keep correcting my words, one day I won’t automatically say the wrong thing.  This makes me patient and gracious with myself – another gift.

Growth!  It ain’t always linear, or fast, or pretty.  But it is always a good thing, in the end. 

 

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Comments
  1. Pam Spangler says:

    Karen; I thank the Lord for you today. I’m having some serious family issues and some things you wrote about hit home. It’s not easy being a Christian and being a mom at the same time. Please say a prayer for my family if you would. Thank you!

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