A Time to Keep Silent

The stereotypical mother says, “If you can’t say something nice….”

That exhortation is meant to remind us that we shouldn’t say mean things about other people. Well, okay. I think there are times to say mean things about other people, but that’s not the point of my sermon here today.

I used to be quite a jokester. I still do have a pretty decent sense of humor and a quick wit, when it’s appropriate. But there was a time when my “wit” was quick even when it wasn’t appropriate.

I would make jokes to get attention. I couldn’t stand being in a social situation, especially online, where my presence wasn’t registered. Ironically, or perhaps not, I also happen to have social anxiety. So on one level I can’t stand being the center of attention, but on another, I can’t stand not.

I would fill in awkward silences with jokes. Online, I would make pointless, irrelevant comments to remind other people of my existence. If I didn’t know what to say, I would make a joke.

One aspect of growing up, even if that “growing up” happened in my 40s, was realizing that there are times when my input wasn’t needed, wasn’t helpful, and was even destructive. There are times where keeping silent is the right thing to do.

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