The tempting moment

I took this photograph yesterday morning (inside my living room looking out). A reflection makes it look like there is a fire burning in the heart of the tree)

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.!

22 thoughts on “The tempting moment”

  1. Perfect!

    Another wonderful lesson to guide my words this week,(and every week)!

    Thank you, Mary

    From Fran

  2. Good morning Mary! Oh, how true this is and also how hard. I read or heard something awhile back that suggested we think of our powerful words as bricks…that every time we speak we are either laying a brick on the path to a better, stronger relationship or, we are placing a brick in a wall that is going up between us and whoever we are communicating with at the moment. I think I must be a visual person ’cause it is easy for me to remember a path or a wall…and as you say, we make the choice everyday with our words.

    Happy Halloween to all!

    1. Kathye, I love that image! And surely kind words are the mortar that hold the house together, whereas a harsh word spoken in haste is like an arrow that pierces the heart and the very foundation of our relationships. The Franklin quote is so powerful Mary. I like how it pairs with the one you offered last week, “Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true”. Robert Brault. In both cases our choices so affect the dynamic in the relationship.

  3. The Benjamin Franklin quote came at just the right time. It’s uncanny how many times your comments and thoughts are delivered to my computer just when I need them most. Thank you.


  4. Wow, what a powerful message this morning from all of you! I like the visual of the path vs the wall too. I am also learning to be quiet, to not always be right (or keep it to myself if I am…LOL) and to choose my words carefully I would rather use them to build others up or make them feel loved, than the opposite.

    Have a wonderful day everyone ~ be happy and at peace…Marian

    ps…Mary, your daily thoughts are so inspiring to all of us. They make us think about ourselves and others, sometimes in a different way. Thank you for taking time each day for each of us…love you friend!!!

    1. I second that Marian! Mary, you truly do dedicate yourself to offering us a daily inspiration, thoughtfully presented, and with quotes to savor! We are all so blessed!

    2. Thank you Marian….I feel the connection, love and support from this blog everyday and am eternally grateful and humbled by it. Love you too, Mary

  5. Oh how I wish I could take back the times my mouth took off before my brain checked in. Another wise lesson in self discipline Mary! Thank you from me as well for the time you take to share with us and all those that contribute. I like the brick wall analogy also. Happy Halloween everyone, I still love carving pumpkins!

  6. I have a favorite story about words that can be helpful. Hope you all enjoy it.


    A young man spread a false rumor about an old man who lived at the end of his street. Overcome with guilt, he worked up the courage to apologize. He humbly walked to the old man’s door and said he was sorry. The wise old man looked at him. He said that he would forgive him, but first he must take a feather pillow to the top of a hill and pop it so that all the feathers spread in the wind. The young man thought it a strange request, but he did as the old man asked. Afterward, he went to report this to the old man and asked for forgiveness again. The old man said that when the young man collected all of the feathers, then he would be forgiven.

    Our words, like feathers, get scattered everywhere. The next time you are tempted to pass gossip along, remember that once your words are spoken, they can never be taken back.

  7. Yet another powerful message this morning, thank you! Blessings and Happy Halloween everyone….

  8. Thank you Mary for another wonderful lesson about choosing what we say wisely. I love the other comments also…much wisdom dispensed here daily! I often study the tagged phrases and words at the end of your blog Mary. Today they just seem to jump of the page/screen… “choosing our words, fire in the heart…silence, temptation, magnificent life. Words to meditate by.
    Halloween blessings to all.

  9. I feel on this topic of words I must share my Rose story with you. Rose was the mother of a friend of mine. She was widowed when her two boys were quite young and she remarried a few years later. “Sam” tried very hard to be a good father to the boys, took them fishing, hunting and spent time with them. Rose always stood on the front porch and said “Three, three” as they went off on their adventures. Things didn’t work out, Sam had a drinking problem and they ended up getting divorced. Rose was a nurse and years later Sam was admitted to her hospital with not long to live. She would come after her shift and sit with Sam and they would talk about the good times they had, what went wrong? Sam told her he just felt he could never be a part of the family. It was always Rose and the two boys, the three of them. He was never included. Rose was mystified, what did he mean? Sam told her she always had that “three, three” thing every time they went anywhere . . . the three of them, Rose and the two boys. Rose had tears running down her cheeks when she told Sam, Don’t you know what three three means Sam? It’s three little words that mean I love you! I had tears running down my face when Rose told me that story.

  10. Hi Mary,
    Another valuable offering from the Talmud says: “Never use the truth as a weapon”. I thought this fitted in well with today’s thoughts. Trying to prove you are right especially in the moment, is a form of using the truth as a weapon, no matter how small or insignificant the thing my be, you just want to prove you were right. Thanks Mary I love your blog!

    1. Thank you, Jayne. I’ve copied this into my top prorities for kind communication folder! I love to “be right” even when it feels wrong to proceed on that direction. Now I understand why proving I’m right doesn’t always feel good.
      From Fran

    2. Thank you for this profound thought. So much wisdom dispensed today. This blog is Mary Muncil and Company’s Life Class. Thank you one and all.

  11. Great post today, Mary…in fact ALL the posts today were lessons unto themselves.
    Happy Halloween to all. Wish I could send pumpkin pies to all my ‘feathered’ friends!

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