There is this old fairy tale I’ve always been kind of obsessed with. Two sisters are at a well when an old woman with her whole life strapped to her back approaches them and asks for a drink. One sister scorns the beggar and tells her to go away. The other apologizes for her sister’s behavior, draws up the bucket, and gives the old woman a drink from her dipper, despite her filthy condition. The beggar reveals herself to be a powerful fairy, who curses the sister who spoke cruelly to her so that, whenever she opens her mouth to speak, toads and adders will tumble out.
To the sister that was kind to her, the fairy blesses her, turning her dipper to gold, and puts a spell on her so that whenever she speaks, pearls and rubies and precious gems will fall from her lips — because of this, a prince hears about it and marries the nice girl. (A dubious gift and all-around problematic lesson, I have always thought, but I will save that for another day.)
The problems aside, this is my first firmly formed Resolution of 2010: Pearls and Rubies.
Less trash-talk and denigration slithering out of my mouth, more pearls and rubies dripping from my lips. That includes not just ceasing gossip, but in changing my entire mindset, so that if I were about to criticize someone, I might instead take that criticism and turn it around, maybe offer some insight into why I think that person who is being discussed (probably not present during that) is behaving the way they are, and a hope that things will improve for them.
“Do not go about spreading slander among your people.”
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers… Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
(Miss D, I know you are laughing at my deliberate inclusion of quotes from St. Paul’s letters — but this year, I am determined that I am going to take a stab at resolving some of my Paul problems, too, so make me work on it!)
“But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.”
I am going to try to continue the process of change I began almost a year ago, and strive to constantly improve myself and the world around me. I especially like this resolution because it forces me to stop complaining (i.e. criticizing) and actually take action to resolve my issues with how a thing is going or a person is acting. I think this is really going to make me a better person. Or get me punched in the face. I’ll keep you posted!