Sunday, November 2, 2008

Temperance In All Things

Temperance- (noun,) Moderation in action, passions, thought, or feeling. The quality of restraint.

Advice not asked for is not advice- it's meddling. It's interference. No matter how well intended, if someone has not asked your opinion, resist the impulse to spew. It will not do good. What makes me think of this today? It was being caught at a stop light on my way to the grocery store. A long, long light where, on the corners, people held right to life signs. Signs against abortion. Against euthanasia. Against. Against. Against whatever. Perhaps it sounds odd, but it intruded on my day, I just wanted a pleasant ride. At the same time it makes me proud to be a member of this society where the right to publicly assemble and express a view point is protected. Still, this I could do without.

Young and old were there. At times I wish I still had the hubris, or maybe it's passion, of youth to think that complex moral issues are easily reduced to black or white views. Absolutes sure make life less complicated. It's this way or it's NOT. It's right or it's WRONG. You're either for us or AGAINST us. You're either part of the solution or you're part of the PROBLEM. You're either a Democrat or a Republican. Here's what I know- important life issues are very rarely concretely black or white. On important topics, you have to admit that both sides have valid points. Most of life takes place in the murky gray space between the two extremes. That's what makes it so messy. That's what makes it so highly emotionally charged in uncertain times such as these.

I wonder about those who know they hold the truth. I believe it's impossible to know the absolute truth about anything. Far from absolute, it's simply what's true for me. Opinionated as I am, I keep my thoughts to myself on these highly personal and volatile issues. Not because I don't passionately feel things or have an's just that until someone specifically asks me, hanging it out there only adds to the chaos or falls on deaf ears. So, I pick my occasions carefully. I choose my words with even more care when asked for advice. I've also learned that I must give someone the space to change their minds as they gain more information or life experience. That means, I've tempered my expectation that simply because you asked and I told you, that you'll take my advice.

I saw a sticky note the other day that read, "Everyone is entitled to my opinion!" Maybe, but seeking it? Probably not. We all know people who think like that sticky note; they believe they have a duty to tell you everything they think about you and how you live. Sigh. How frustrating is that? When it comes to exercising your right to publicly share your opinions on a street corner or at home with a member of your own family and friends, please consider that opinions and advice not asked for are not helpful- they're interference. Noise. Inflammatory even.

Temperance. We could benefit from keeping the quality of temperance uppermost in our minds, especially with election day drawing so close. Vote. Please vote. Not because you believe you can effect outcome or have it go your way. Vote because you have the right to express your opinions by the ballot you complete. Know that the outcome will be what it is meant to be. Be temperate in your response. If your candidate wins, rejoice but don't gloat. If your candidate loses, be temperate in those negative comments you'll want to hurl. Do not go about being a nay-sayer or the harbinger of doom about the demise of our country. Do not hype fear.

Both candidates- the one you support, the one you hate; the family members who love them; the hundreds who have worked for them, have given everything they have to this election process. Pray for them or at least wish them well. Trust that Spirit guides us in all things known and unknown. Seen or hidden. An election is no exception. So, please, let us be temperate in our thoughts and actions on November 4 and after.
Namaste' Till Next Time,

1 comment:

Eileen said...

Thank you for this sane message ... I only wish your blog was reaching more of our citizenry! To our future! May it be brighter, more hopeful, more secure, and full of peaceful intentions and actions!


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