Open Mouth –
I heard someone say yesterday that; “only a fish with its mouth open gets caught!” I like the saying. It’s similar to the wisdom teaching; “No one regrets a harsh word unspoken.”
One of the key tenets of my job is to ensure each client’s privacy. I am not allowed to talk about conversations, other information, or even affirm a client is a client to anyone who does not and should not know. It’s difficult at times when someone calls from another organization to inquire about a client to say; “I’m sorry. I cannot talk about clients. Period.” but sometimes I have to do it.
Though a challenge I think it would be great if everyone followed the rule of not talking about another without the other’s permission. However, often times it’s the opposite. We hear a juicy piece of gossip, an embarrassing story, someone is facing a challenging situation, carrying the burden of a struggling relationship and we can’t keep it to ourselves! We’ve got to share it. Like fish we’ve chomped down on the bait and once we’re caught we dangle it in front of others to see if they will take a bite also. Gossip turns to rumors and they always come back around to the person being talked about. The hurt they already felt is multiplied. Their burden becomes that much more to bear.
Instead of an open ear and open mouth to hear and repeat innuendos and insults perhaps we can offer the person struggling, a listening spirit and words of comfort and kindness.
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On my way to the office today I stopped at a drive-thru and ordered a drink to take with me to a meeting. There was a long line and I didn’t have too much time to spare. The woman in the car in front of me ordered and then pulled up, but not enough for me to be able to move into position and place my order. After a few moments, waiting, I said out loud, seemingly to myself, “Let’s go lady!” I had already rolled down my window and then noticed she had hers down also. “Oops,” I thought to myself, “I hope she didn’t hear me.” I watched to see if there was any reaction from the woman and didn’t discern any. I breathed a sigh of relief and didn’t mutter another word.
“No one regrets a harsh word unspoken.” -Wisdom Proverb
It was a good reminder to me that words, once uttered, can never be taken back. Whatever the circumstances, or intentions, our words have the power of life and death. We should always be mindful to use them wisely.