Sunday, September 2, 2012

Crashing to Earth

I'm thinking it's about time I learn to grow up and shut up.

There's a popular phrase circulating in society today: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Google credits the quote to Plato, but with the abundance of incorrectly credited quotes on the internet, I tentatively include it here. Most people agree with this quote; it is not difficult to see its truth. Only on the occasion in which you suffer from its truth, however, does it seem like something you should actually do.

"You annoy me sometimes." Spoken directly to my face, amidst a circle of friends. At least, I hope they're my friends, lest they be thinking something similar. A comment like this normally would have buzzed a nerve and then been forgotten completely, had it not occurred during one of the longest days I've had all year. When I say long, I mean painful. Unbeknown to the speaker, I had just been through an ordeal in which I had to hurt someone I dearly care about, an ordeal which equally hurt me. There is nothing worse than knowing you are horrible enough to be able to hurt someone and claiming to yourself you care about them at the same time, even if you genuinely do. I am just enough of a miserable wretch to try and dull the sting by attending a celebration - and by refusing to reveal to anyone exactly how awful I feel. Fortunately, God granted me time with many delightful people who were able to keep me laughing for most of the celebration, something for which I am incredibly grateful. I am not anywhere near as funny as they are, though, so most of what I said fell flat and led to a brief lull in the conversation until one of the funny people spoke again. As I've said before, I know I'm not funny, but on a day like this, you foolishly care about everything.

So, with some true and some fake smiles, dull comments that everyone ignores, half-hearted dancing and swallowed emotions, I made it through the rest of the day. Right as I was preparing to leave came the comment: "You annoy me sometimes." I don't remember what I said to earn that comment. I responded to it with a laugh and continued with my charade. Now, though, that comment sits as the cherry on top of the load of bull I dug through that day. Along with every other insult I'm granting to myself, I have that to acknowledge, spoken by someone I considered a good friend. Not only am I horrible for hurting people close to me and stupidly stubborn for making myself appear heartlessly unaffected, I am also annoying. Marvelous. Hey, Plato, could you say that a little louder next time? I don't think some of us heard you...

Maybe it's about time I stop making comments that aren't funny and give up my tendency to tease people I consider friends. I know I don't follow Plato's quote as well as I should, either. Maybe it's time I only say what is absolutely necessary to say, to eliminate romance and embrace logic, to sit in silence within myself and speak when spoken to. In my old Bible, I underlined every single proverb that mentioned how the words of a fool contrast with the silence of the wise - perhaps it is time I start listening.

I miss my best friends (the ones I mentioned in the earlier post). They hear everything I say and know all the stupid things I do, and they tell me to snap out of it but with a hug. I love them so much and wish I could spend as much time with them now as I did in high school. I have some friends in college that are just as good to me, and I love them just as much. I should be able to honor them with the same honesty with which I honor my friends from home. Another flaw of mine.

Okay, Plato, I'm listening.

"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." 10:19

"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." 12:18

"A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of a fool blurts out folly." 12:23

"A fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions." 18:2

"The words of a man's mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook." 18:4

"A fool's mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul." 18:7

"He who answers before listening - that is his folly and his shame." 18:13

Proverbs (and many more...)