Friday, September 12, 2008

Freakin' Meekness

So. I'm reading these church talks about discipleship and it turns out that I need to be meek. Paul Woodruff has generally the same idea, but he expands it a bit and calls it reverence. (And he is totally not an apostle, even if he is a Thursday forum speaker.) But here's what Neal A. says:

Meekness does not mean tentativeness. But thoughfulness. Meekness makes room for others: (Philip. 2:3).


Among the meek there is usually more listening and less talking. [...] The meek think of more clever things to say than are said.

"Meekness--A Dimension of True Discipleship" 1983

So that's why I deleated a perfectly lovely and snarky post about Sarah Palin's children's names. Must...restrain...snarkiness. It's sometimes harder to let go of those lovely cruelties than it is to pay a hearty fast offering. Why am I generous with money and even compliments, but so willing to say all the clever things that I think? Learning to be self-censorous is a never-ended quest that started my freshman year of high school when my brothers first advised me to "keep [my] fool mouth shut."

That's not to say that I'm for keeping silent all the time, or not having opinions, even strong ones, but just sometimes you need to track the number of comments you make in a class, or the percentage of dinner conversation your voice makes, the degree to which you "make room for others."

Learning to speak was hard. Learning to shut up may be harder.


Day said...


I think combining the gifts of kindness and wit may be one of the hardest and most worthwhile things I have no idea how to do, in part because kindness must involve listening and because insults can be so deliciously snarky.

If anyone has examples or role models that do kindness and wit/funnyness/charismatic entertainingness/any entertainingness together, I'd love to hear about it. :)

xister said...

If you want, I can be your role-model. I'm kind and funny (but mostly just kind of funny).

Makayla said...

Elder Maxwell is really good on the whole meekness thing. Probably in the same talk is one of my favorites from him: "Even when the meek speak out, they do not speak down."

So much easier said than done. :)

Day said...

You Are kind and funny. :)

I'm not sure if I can emulate you, though. . . . I think your brand of funny and kind depends on not having an underlayer of deep sardonic bitterness, and I'm not sure I can get rid of mine. :)

Jamie said...

Mary, my favorite part of this post was when you kindly (and meekly, I might add) recommended that we all realize how much we talk in class or at dinner. I'm sure we've all met (or all been) the one person who doesn't realize how annoying he or she is by not listening.

I know we've all heard how C.S. Lewis says that once you think you're humble you're not anymore: so if we are continually--nay, continuously advised to be kind, be humble, etc., how can we recognize that yes, we are indeed progressing in that virtue but not get cocky about it? Does Jesus know that He's perfect? And perfectly humble? I'm sure He does, since He has a perfect knowledge, right? So there must be a way to recognize virtue in ourselves but not vaunteth ourselves. What do you think?