It is always interesting to here your views echoed with the addition of time. Everyone involved has the benefit and burden of reflection and hindsight. As I listened to my words replaying themselves, I wanted to interrupt. My mind was spitting bullets.
“Do not read too much into these words.
They are out of context.
They may be what I said, but they are not what I meant.”
For a change, I merely listened. I listened to the words and wondered if I could accurately remember what I was thinking at the time. They were not precisely what I recall saying, but the intent was reasonably close. I have no recollection of my emotions at the time. Usually this tells me that while I may have had a view, it was not a closely held view. Whatever the point then, the question is how to clarify now.
I struggled to find the words. If I had remembered Paul’s line, I would have used it. “Don’t, by the way, read too much into the differences here between men and women. Neither man nor woman can go it alone or claim priority.” (1 Corinthians 11.10)
Candor has its place. I am not sure I have found it. As I think of the ways candor has played out in my life, I would offer the following observations.
Our words, actions, and choices last longer than we will remember. They play out in the lives of others. They tell a story that continues long after we forget.
Our words have a unique voice. We may know what we intend to say. On a good day, our words approximate this intent. In every circumstance, they speak for themselves. Listening to our voice with an open mind of the Other will create an window to clarify. Once the window has closed, it is gone forever.
Hearing our words, echoed or even as we speak, is always a look into the past. The question we need to focus on is the moment at hand. The present is an opportunity to make a difference.