Jack and I have these little contests all of the time. For instance, If we hear a song on the radio, and we think that it was done by different artists, we place bets; whoever is wrong buys lunch the next time we go out (or some other small thing). We never remember these bets, never hold each other to the bargains, and yet we have kept this little right/wrong thing going. I don’t think that this is a huge deal, but lately, I’ve been making an attempt not to do it and even harder, if I find out something later on, that I was right about, unless it is important for Jack to know, I don’t say anything. I find this to be, in the moment, extremely challenging. There is an urge inside me; this voice that says, “You must tell him!” It is quite emphatic. I’ve also noticed that when I don’t indulge it, I forget it. Completely.
The other day, I let a friend borrow my car to take the New York State driver’s test. He’s been driving for years, but is from Germany and needed a U.S. driver’s license. As we rode to the testing spot he said, “The people at the Dept. of Motor Vehicles said that you can sit in the back seat for the test, but you cannot talk, or say a word, or give me any help.” I laughed and said, “That sounds like a test for me, not you!” I opted to wait at the testing site and say silent prayers (that I felt he needed since he turned into the testing place and forgot to put his blinker on as he pulled into the lot, and the examiner was standing right there….he did pass!).
I like the feeling that choosing my words and thoughts brings. If I am emotionally involved in a situation and I discipline myself to speak when I am ready, but not out of reaction to negative feelings that are welling up inside, the outcome is always better for everyone. Words are powerful. Thoughts and time are precious….they are mine to use however I choose, and they will ultimately create a magnificent life or a mediocre one.
“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment”. Benjamin Franklin
P.S. The winner of the contest was Pam A.!