We’ve long heard much in regard to what’s the hardest thing to do…
“I’ve always said that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports,” said the great Ted Williams.
“I think the hardest thing to do in the world, show-business-wise, is write comedy,” said the comedic genius, Carol Burnett.
“Stillness. That’s all and that’s the hardest thing,” said the talented Morgan Freeman.
“The hardest thing with musicians is getting them not to play,” said the iconic pop star, Prince.
And from the often articulate Adlai E. Stevenson, “I am now seasoned enough to have learned that the hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.”
So much truth and perspective in each of the above, individualized arenas. What still seems hardest for us all?
“To change,” said Mickey Rourke.
“To trust people,” said Dwight Howard.
“Being humble and sweet,” said Jemima Kirke.
“Losing weight,” said Aretha Franklin.
“Losing someone you love,” “forgiveness,” and “asking for forgiveness,” still say many.
I wonder, as we watch people continue to forsake respecting all in all arenas, if the hardest thing to do has less to do with any of the above — hard as each admittedly can be — but more to do with a singular body part.
It seems, my friends, we are consistently, inconsistently awful at taming the tongue.
I speak not of vulgarity; after all, truthfully, sometimes there’s just something incredibly funny about the limited-use-yet-perfectly-timed, creative cuss word.
I speak instead of the words meant to demean, degrade, or disrespect. While a word out of our mouths can accomplish nearly anything, it can also destroy it.
Maybe we say destructive words flippantly. Maybe they are a knee-jerk reaction. Maybe we put them on social media for all the world to see.
Maybe we don’t actually say the words, but we’re totally ok and egging it on if the words come out of the mouth of someone else. Maybe we’re inconsistent in believing disparaging words are ok, pending who actually says them.
Maybe it depends on who the words are said about — from a sitting senator to a press secretary, as we’ve sadly, recently observed.
Maybe, just maybe, each of us, well, we’re entirely inconsistent. We justify degrading someone.
I read once — ok, maybe twice (or truthfully way, way more) — how if we could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, we’d have a perfect person, in perfect control of life. No one can tame a tongue.
Hence, I walk away, still wondering with two thoughts…
One, we only hurt ourselves and our credibility when we’re lured into believing that cursing and blessing can come out of the same mouth…
And two, as adults hailing from all sorts of both individual and collective arenas, each of us has areas in which to grow.