Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Being Quiet

I am, for the most part, a private person. That is, in part, due to being somewhat shy. Nope, I am not kidding. One of my Sunday School students, a spry lady in her 80's, laughs when I mention it, but my "teaching" persona is a bit fake. Oh, I can slip into that role well enough, having done so for thirty years, but given the choice, I will read a book rather than gossip.

Also, there is the matter of training. My mother was a secretary, a darned good one, in the days when that word was honorable. Mom told me, when I was still a youngster, that she knew many details from the private lives of the people who visited her boss, a minister with formal training in counseling, but that to ever discuss any of those matters was not only in poor taste, but it was a violation of her job title. "The job is that of secret-ary, and that is because one must know how to keep the boss's secrets." No doubt she took some juicy details with her to her grave. Yesterday, I met a lady in the grocery store, who had briefly employed my mother, and she gushed about what a wonderful person she was. Isn't it great to have a reputation that stands for 16 years past physical death? Those who knew mama, really knew her, still honor her memory. If she had been the local busy-body, would she be recalled with such glowing words? I think not.

For the most part, I am quiet, and there are those who think not jabbering all of the time is arrogance. Okay, I can't help that. However, when efforts are made to sully one's reputation, that can be tough to take. Thus a quote from a favorite science fiction writer comes to mind—

"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself." —Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign, 1999

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