Keys of Virtue
Yesterday, I became angry about someone's rude behavior. My initial reaction was to call a friend and "vent", but other thoughts came to me. "Wait a minute. Do I really need to talk about this incident and talk about the person involved? What is my motivation? Will I just be badmouthing the person or do I really need to vent to get clarity?"
It has only been a week since I have been practicing the virtue of prudence in conversations and I see glimpses of it taking hold. It inspires me to continue because the ultimate hope is that the practice will become a good habit. It will become habitual and more automatic as I live my life.
So what did I do with those thoughts that surfaced? I held on to them, as well as my intense feelings, and I went on with my day as best I could. I did not pick up the phone and vent as I normally would have. Instead, as my angry, vindictive thoughts arose, I just noticed them and asked myself questions again. "Do I really need to blab about it, or can I sit with things and see if my anger will resolve itself and bring clarity? What exactly am I mad about? Am I mad because of the rude behavior, or am I mad because I don't like that person in the first place and this gives me a reason to show everyone else I have been right about them all along?"
I let this unravel and eventually became calm. I realized I didn't need to call anyone about this.
Then, lo and behold, I find myself in a conversation with another friend of mine, and I start "venting" and sharing the things that made me angry - except - it was all happening out of habit and not need. I knew right away that what I was doing was not necessary and I felt empty with every word that came out about it. The problem - I didn't know how to stop myself. I did not know how to fill the conversation with other topics, so I continued blabbing even when I truly didn't care about that incident any more. I knew in my mind right there that I was being silly, and, uncharitable toward the person with the rude behavior, as well as toward the friend I was "venting."
I wish I would have just stopped and let the awkwardness exist between me and my friend. At least it would not have been a sin.
Now, I am off to practice virtue. I think I need it. :-)
Peace in Christ,
images - http://www.flickr.com/photos/keysofvirtue/87850379/