Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SCUTTLEBUTT (rumor or gossip) (10/03/19)
- TITLE: Crooking Fingers To Coax The Walkabouts, Talk-abouts And Talked Abouts
By Judith Gayle Smith
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Crooking a slender forefinger to coax me to her table, my friend whisper-hissed "Is that lady over there pregnant? Others have told me that she is and that she has eight children."
Trying hard to keep a straight face, I glanced briefly at the possibly pregnant gal happily visiting her mother at a table graced with my friend's point. Her mother is a wee bit older than I am - I am rushing to age eighty - and her daughter is pushing sixty, at best.
I replied that I didn't believe the gossip, and that gossiping is unkind to both the gossiper and the gossipee.
I reside in "assisted living", and I have met so very many terrific folks, all with their personal stories, imagined stories and living through the exciting lives of others. We are walkabouts, talk-abouts, and frequently talked-abouts. Scuttlebutt is the norm here. We succumb to tales told merrily. Happiness for those who fall in love, sadness for those beloveds we have lost, friends and family.
Almost daily we, in horror - observe the fire truck and ambulance parades to our door. We are not told who is ill, the staff is sworn to silence, and we can only guess at who has either passed away or is being rushed to the hospital. We crane our necks to see who is on the gurney, and we pray. We share gossip as finding someone to pray for spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally. So many residents - so many heartaches.
A sweet friend of mine just left us this week. Unexpectedly. I recall she wanted someone to knock on her door now and then to ensure she was doing well. One day, headed to my boyfriend's apartment, I felt our Lord compelling me to knock on her door and go in if there was no answer. I found her on the floor in her bathroom, moaning helplessly. We have a great staff here - they shooed me away and got her up and running again. Thank you, Lord.
I have a marvelous friend here who constantly loses her hearing aids. She has many stories to tell and wants to hear everything happening around her. I get writer's cramp, answering her queries. She is very smart but very alone. Visiting with her involves almost two hours at a time - she is lonely and doesn't want me to leave.
Am I guilty of gossiping about her? Telling things that are truthful, that are not harmful, that she wants me to share - is not gossip. Laughing about her is gossip. People who have hearing difficulties are prone to doubts about those around them. Trust is fragile. I treasure our friendship
It is difficult to find a "safe space" to be ourselves and have people see who we really are, not what they perceive by our clothes, hair, and shape of our bodies. It is horribly disastrous to approach a woman of my size - and ask when our baby is due. Embarrassing and, with some - unforgivably insulting. I have had fingers pointing to me - what a way to win a popularity contest.
Gossip is criticism - plain and simple. We mention the failings of others, inadvertently pointing those same accusing fingers at ourselves. Remember the adage - the one finger points out, but there are the rest of your fingers pointing back to you.
Isn't there a Commandment that covers scuttlebutt? Perhaps "bearing false witness..."
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