Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"Shut Up" - 5 times a day

I have a new spiritual discipline. 5 times a day, I must shut up.

I don't mean that I need to have a period of quietness 5 times a day. I mean that 5 times a day, I have to stop myself right before speaking.

It's not that I say things I regret. It's just that I sometimes speak when it is unnecessary to do so. Which means that I might be missing out on an opportunity to hear something.

A couple of years ago, I lost my voice. Totally, for about 3 days. I still had to go about my life, though. So, I carried a pen and paper. When you have to write out everything, you only speak when you have something really important to say. And you know what? At the end of it, I didn't feel that there was anything important that I had been unable to communicate.

Like Moxie Life, I've had my struggles with Chronic Sharing. Like many females, I have often offered up sharing as a way to bond. It is the equivalent of showing the soft white underbelly, making oneself vulnerable as a gift.

I think that there are better ways to bond.

Sharing with close friends is one thing. But sharing as a way to establish a relationship that is not already in place often leads to that sick feeling in one's stomach and ache in one's head ... the dreaded Oversharing Hangover.

Obviously, if I'm going to be a minister, I have a whole host of other reasons to cut the chronic sharing.

Last week, we were in the clinic and a very nice lady, a volunteer, came over to talk to us. It turned into her telling me all about her second cousin once-removed and her problems with diverticulosis or some such. It didn't particularly bother me, because, hey, I already knew that Little Warrior had clear scans. Not much bothered me that day.

But what if I had a newly diagnosed child. Or we were waiting to hear scan results. The last thing you need at that point is to have to put on a polite face while a stranger prattles on.

I mentally wrote a blog entry: "If you're a volunteer in a hospital, here's some advice ... Shut up."

It's actually pretty good advice for me.


Anonymous said...

I like that as a spiritual discipline. I think you hit the nail on the head... it is offering up sharing... as if it is some kind of gift. And really do we give gifts to people before we know them. No, no we don't.

Earthbound Spirit said...

"I mentally wrote a blog entry: "If you're a volunteer in a hospital, here's some advice ... Shut up."

Brava, you're halfway to learning the most important lesson of CPE: "Listen - it's not about you."

Lilylou said...

Echoing Earthbound Spirit: listening IS the point in a hospital or pastoral care situation. You're going to get good at it, LE!