“Tact is about choosing our thoughts and words carefully” ~ Amanda,
Be Gentle, Be Love
Mark Twain explained, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” Raised by three generatons of Southern mothers, I had received lots of education and example on the finer virtues of tact.
“Write down all the things you could have said to them-”them” being whoever you wish it to be. Get it all out.”
Holy bok choy, Batman, did I ever! Propriety stifled, I aimed black marker at thick paper and fired furiously. I did not stop to censor or censure. Soon, really soon, the paper’s white space held sharp-lettered torrents.
“When you’re done, read it over.”
Really? Read it? Really? Aren’t I supposed to crumple up the paper and throw it over my shoulder like a dutiful, tact-filled continental soldier? Or burn it so that from the ashes a tactfully healed phoenix could rise?
“Let yourself feel the anger, the hurt, the pain. Grab some paint and pain over the words with love. Paint over the words one at a time with care and compassion.”
I approached the paper and the dark words clinically at first, amazed I knew how to even spell what tact kept unexpressed. I revisited and reexperienced, amazed that what I once pronounced “healed” still brought tears.
But what color paint should I grab? Using the same color of darkness in greater quantity to blot out dark words seemed disingenuous: a controlled burn in a life of controlled, stiff smiles framing tactful responses. And, a controlled burn still burns.
I chose pink. Pink signified the best color for care and compassion. With as much love as I could intention, I mingled the pink paint over the black words. I whispered the word “love” painting each letter of the word “love” over the menacing words of pain. But the words stubbornly refused erasing. They remained, echoing in outline. And worse, visibly bled through, in reverse order, on the back of the paper.
What color paint covers pain?
Maybe the pain bleeding through the pink front remained unrested in me. The pain persisted through the paint. Pain and Paint: contained the same letters. Except for one tiny letter “t”
“t” for truth
(Speak the truth in love, helen. What do you know to be true?)
Truth was, these very same words, now directed at another, I had also said to myself. Over time, the words, withheld in tactful abeyance I internalized and began to believe. Truth was, I had not been tactful to myself.
My paintbrush greeted, then nourished the page with deep green. Verdant green truth cuddled with loving, compassionate pink. A bandage, reminiscent of stained glass, emerged as healing green truth met pink strokes of love and Spirit~ Mother dressed the wound.
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