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I Talk Too Much

Yes, I know it. I talk too much.

I can’t help myself. I have all these thoughts and I want to share them with people. So I talk. And I write. And I almost always learn something from what people say in response.

Hopefully, some of the thoughts are good. Some of the best ones aren’t mine, but at least I know about them.

One of the best sayings that I usually ignore comes from the Chinese philosopher Confucius:

Silence is a friend who never betrays.

I’ve gotten pretty good at following that advice about things that might hurt people’s feelings. For almost anything else, though, I open my mouth and words come out. I just keep my fingers crossed that the words won’t be totally insane.

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis also advises me to keep my mouth shut. Kempis was a German monk who lived from 1380 to 1471. In Book I, Chapter 10 “On the Danger of Superfluity of Words,” he says:

We like talking so much because we hope by our conversations to gain some mutual comfort, and because we seek to refresh our wearied spirits by a variety of thoughts.

I think that’s true. It’s one of the reasons I blog. I like to say what I think and hear what other people think: a variety of thoughts. But Kempis warns:

Talk concerning worldly things, though it be innocently undertaken, is a hindrance, so quickly are we led captive and defiled by vanity.

Of course, he was a monk, probably writing for other monks and Church officials because they were pretty much the only people who could read. So maybe his advice goes a little too far for regular people living regular lives, especially in the 21st century. I definitely don’t want to give up talking about “Gossip Girl.” 🙂

But he has a good point. We can get so entranced by all the shiny things and loud noises around us that we forget about what’s really important. He also says:

Devout conversation on spiritual things helpeth … to spiritual progress, most of all where those of kindred mind and spirit find their ground of fellowship in God.

Although I’m a Catholic, I see that as applying to everyone. My Dad’s side of the family is Jewish. I also have friends and classmates who are Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and who follow many other paths. It seems to me that we are all searching for the same thing, the same kind of spiritual answer and fulfillment. Even atheists, though they deny it, want to find some kind of meaning in the world.

Truth, to me, is less a destination than a journey. Just as we seek spiritual improvement without imagining that we will ever be perfect, we seek spiritual truth without imagining that we will ever completely understand the truth that we seek. There will always be a part that we have to take on faith. Loving each other is one way we can live by that faith.

One other thing in which I have faith is that if I don’t do my studying and homework, I won’t do well in my classes! So I’d better get to that.


Copyright 2010 by Rinth de Shadley.

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