It seems lately that the older I get, the filter between my brain and my mouth gets stretched thinner, like the waistband of my underwear. (I really should have bought some for me when I bought some for everyone else). Basically –
Like last week. As I rushed from the grocery store, a middle-aged couple in a shiny new white BMW pulled into an empty handicapped parking space by the front door. There was no handicap sticker on their vehicle, as required by law, and both appeared to be perfectly physically fit. There were plenty of empty spaces available in the lot, and only a few extra feet away.
I said –
“Oh, I’m sorry for staring but I don’t often get to see people who are so above the law that they can park wherever they please…”Really? What’s my problem? You’re my problem. You don’t have a handicap sticker in your vehicle, and there are plenty of other spaces to choose. You’re taking a space from someone who needs it. I don’t know if you can manage to pay the very expensive fine if you leave your car there, but you certainly look like you can manage those extra steps from that space, right there, to the store.”
– to myself as I climbed in my car, after I rolled my eyes walking past. I ranted all the way home, all the things I wish I had said.
What gives? Sometimes I bite my tongue and I don’t open my mouth, at great risk of personal harm. But other times I’m sneering sarcastically under my breath, or flat out ranting like a lunatic. Whatever the cause, it’s not always a good thing when my brain filter fails and my mouth just assumes it’s ok to say it! It’s awkward, not to mention completely against my upbringing.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
…the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. (James 3:5-6)
I’m already on fire, thanks to the raging inferno of my dying youth. So while I’m developing a thicker skin (and a muffin top), my “filter” is getting thinner. It’s isn’t fair!
One would think that as one matures, one would develop greater self-control. My self-confidence has grown exponentially; I’m increasingly less concerned with what people think of me (humour me!) but this overconfident, run-off-at-the-mouth-like-a-soup-sandwich-style sarcasm is going to land me in serious trouble one day.
I want to be a nice person. I used to be more like Laura Ingalls Wilder – sweet and wholesome – but lately all I want to do is use my braids to choke the next person who annoys me. Which is everyone. Apparently.
Please consider this a forewarning of what may prove to be a growing, embarrassing problem (right up there with pantyhose hanging out my pant leg and forgetting what I went upstairs to get).
So, to the people who tolerate me on a regular basis, I’m sorry…you are the real heroes! I hope you have a good weekend!
To everyone else…I’m just going to bite my tongue.