Tuesday, July 18, 2017

"Speak Up or Shut Up"

Job 16.6 “The Message”

“When I speak up,
I feel no better;
if I say nothing,
that doesnt help either.” 

Nothing compares to the horror of Job’s plight, other than perhaps the sacrificial death of the Christ. Job lost it all… his possessions, his wealth, his children, his reputation, and finally his health. Even Job’s friends, who began their mission of mercy with an incredible display of understanding and sympathy, eventually added unbearable insult to Job’s tragic injury. They blamed him for his own demise. They held Job responsible for his pain and accused him of causing his own tortured story. Their advise was cheap and easy and, of course, entirely misguided.

What would Job do? Job’s mind and ability to form words were all he had left. Unfortunately it did not help to talk about it. Nor did Job benefit by remaining silent. Nothing worked to lessen the pain...

“When I speak up, I feel no better; if I say nothing, that doesn’t help either.”

On not-so-good days in some households, it’s either the ‘silent treatment’ or the ‘talk it to death’ approach. In Job’s case, the ‘no-talk’ rule certainly didn’t work. But talking about his problems also did not help.
Dr. Louann Brizendine, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, in her best-seller, The Female Brain (Morgan Road), claims, “A woman uses about 20,000 words per day while a man uses about 7,000.” This statistic seems to prove what my wife and I used to experience routinely. I once informed my wife of the research proving men use less words in a day than women. She was familiar with the statistics. I presented the idea hoping she would learn to accept my typical pattern of grunting when she wanted to talk. It’s normal for men to use far fewer words than women I argued. My wife answered, “That’s because women have to repeat everything we say to men.” I said, “What?” and proved her point.

I started talking more with my wife. She really liked that. For some reason, communication with me makes her happy, and I always reaped the benefits of my wife’s happiness. I was fortunate that a woman as intelligent as my wife wanted to talk to me.

My wife suffered from incurable cancer and died way too young. In the last few months of her life, I savored every moment of communication I could get with her. Those are days I shall never forget. 

Sometimes you have to talk things out. Other times it’s best to say nothing. Each situation demands a unique response. Poor Job. Neither talk or silence worked for him.

“When I speak up, I feel no better; if I say nothing, that doesn't help either.”

Occasionally, I relate to brother Job. When neither talk nor silence seem to work, I assume that’s a signal for me to wait and listen to God. Maybe God will bestow the same incredible gift my wife granted me every day of our beautiful courtship and marriage. Maybe He will condescend and speak to me like He eventually did to Job. 

1 comment:

One Sided said...

I have been through this conversation. And with Ruth becoming more bound to the house, it is more important that I communicate in more detain and more frequently and on more subjects that I have less interest in.
Please note: I am preceiving a role change, the more I talk the less she listens and the more she has to ask me. "What?"
Initially I was greatly irritated, untill I realized just how great her frustration must have been over the years, when my attention span was short and I was more easily distracted.