Stanwick Group of Churches

March 2020

The Passing Comment

Bin Day 1: “It’s a man’s job to put out the bin” (A very good friend).

Bin Day 2: “You shouldn’t have put the bin out yet, there’s more to put in” (A very loving spouse).

Bin Day 3+1: “We’ve forgotten to put the bin out yesterday” (A brace of loving spouses).

My understanding is that part of Lent is to consider giving up something, probably the least important, unless it allows time for reflection, or, which I prefer, doing some thing or things positively, including perhaps acquiring a disciplined approach to something. Of course both can be done.

How often have we been aware of “the law of unintended consequences”, especially of minor comments or actions?

I often think the comments which sometimes just fly out our mouths can be the worst of all, as we often do not know the sensitivities of the recipient. Frequently the positives and negatives are out of perspective and balance. This is partially a problem when the recipient has clearly sensitively done their utmost and is caught by two opposing comments: the damned if I do and damned if I don’t scenario.

There are those whose position is such that giving an entirely justifiable reply will lead to more distress for someone or exacerbate things e.g. clergy, teachers or any one in public service. The time spent in worrying, analysing, working through the significance and then making a plan to move forward, can be immense, distracting from other work and be way out of proportion to the matter. Clearly avoided if the original comment had not been made.

This Lent I will try to look at my motives for the quick comment and stop before either or both feet go in my mouth. My reflection: I might contribute to the loss of something or someone precious through unthinking comment, and indeed I have done so in the past. My positive action: I will try to continue beyond Lent.

PS I put the bin out yesterday.

From a Churchwarden who prefers to remain anonymous



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