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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Southern Girls Living Fearlessly - Day 22

Just as long as I'm in this world, I will be a light of this world.
- Joan Osborne, on the CD Little Wild One

It's a terrible habit we women develop of criticizing people. We can see flaws from miles away.

In a confidential whisper, during a recent funeral service, a woman sitting next to me on the pew leaned over and confidentially whispered, discreetly pointing toward a female down the row, "Can you believe she wore flip-flops to church? I guess at least they are black," she chuckled.

To my ears, nothing sounds worse than a scathing remark about another person spoken in a conspiratorial accent. Whether we're framing our negative comments with "bless his heart" or "bless her heart" or not, if we are truly honest with ourselves, we have to admit that we're not being very nice. Didn't our sweet southern mamas always tell us that if we didn't have anything nice to say, we shouldn't say anything at all? Didn't our sweet southern mamas teach us to love our neighbors as ourselves?

Sticks and stones might break bones, but words can rip the soul.

Living fearlessly means changing the world. We can change the world. Our words, spoken in that lilting southern drawl, can be a light in this world.

Why did that lady next to me at the funeral feel the need to speak out loud her assessment of our fellow mourner? Was she trying to add humor to a tense situation? Was she attempting to establish herself in my opinion as someone who knows her etiquette? Did she have a brain tumor that caused her to randomly rattle off every thought that came into her head? Had her mama never told her not to talk in church?

Whatever the reason, she didn't intend for her comments to make the world a better place, even if she didn't consciously seek to make it worse. But had the victim of the comments overheard, she would have been hurt and embarrassed, not built up.

TODAY'S ASSIGNMENT: As long as you're in this world, be a light to this world. Fearlessly use your words.

  1. Give an honest compliment to a total stranger.

  2. Give an honest compliment to a person you love.

  3. Give an honest compliment to yourself.

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