Last night the Chief and I stumbled upon a show called The Great Escape. There were three teams that had to escape several levels of what they called a “labyrinth.” There were two couples and a team of brothers. While we watched with intrigue as they repelled out windows, evaded guards, hid in laundry trucks and searched for keys, there was a phenomenon that was growing old – quick.
The two women couldn’t keep their mouths shut.
As their husbands tried desperately to work under pressure, using their strength, brains and bravery and then helping their wives along, the two had one thing in common: they relentlessly nagged them every step of the way.
“The other teams are coming!”
“Why can’t you cut faster?!”
“What!? You just gonna leave me here?!”
“I told you they were coming…”
Nag, nag, nag. And it was ugly.
One husband just ignored his wife. The other shut down, at one point saying in response, “You’re not helping!” That couple had the lead, and ended up stuck at a level the rest of the game. They came in last.
It doesn’t take much to cut down, undermine, irritate, and simply drive our husbands to ignore us. We can render them inoperable with a few short syllables.
But it does take courage, self-control, and inner strength to build up.
I had a friend who’s mother didn’t have a positive word to say to anyone. Eventually others tuned her out and discarded her in their minds and attitudes – they just couldn’t take the negativity. Yet she was a beautiful and gifted lady who could throw a party you wouldn’t believe. She sang and played the piano amazingly. She had wonderful organizational skills. But when she died of bone cancer at a young age, her family struggled to remember positive stories of her life. Nothing funny, nothing good – only that at last she was at rest after such a horrible disease. They were relieved she was gone. What a shame.
When I think of her, I think of one word – unforgiveness. She had been hurt in her younger years and never got over it, never healed, never walked away free. Instead she built walls of protection around her, locking in fear with her. And it marred her family, her character, and ultimately overshadowed her best qualities.
The Great Escape was a good lesson for me to remember that my words can either hurt or heal. My words can tear down or build up. My words can render me pleasant to be around or drive others to be relieved that I’m gone. This week I will strive to keep it positive. Want to join me?
Victoria Newman - "A CHiP on My Shoulder" July 9th, 2012
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