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The Pause

Although I can write the right things, I tend to say the wrong things, especially in social settings. When John and I leave events, he often asks me on the way home who I may have offended. It’s a running joke between us, but the truth is I tend to blurt out things without thinking.

I’ve always struggled with The Pause, the momentary break between your thoughts and mouth. It’s not a skill that comes naturally to me and has plunged me into boiling water more times than I’d like to admit. But people are either ponderers or blurters; we are just born that way; it’s how we’re hardwired.

Most parents have to think on their feet. And for me, in a house with seven children, I was putting out multiple fires at once while rebuilding the cities they had burnt down. If I had stopped to ponder any given situation, chaos would have ensued. And don’t think they didn’t know that. Children watch for cracks where they can get what they want. And somehow, putting Dawn liquid detergent on a trampoline and jumping out of a second-story window is never a good idea.

So, is there a happy medium? Can people wear both hats, changing them frequently according to the situation? I sure wish I knew. But what I do know is this. There’s a great big world out there, and no two people are exactly alike. We were not meant to be the same. Instead of cleansing ourselves of our uniqueness, even if it is the awkward blurting of this tired writer, we should try harder to embrace them.

We are all on this obstacle course of life, trying to do what’s right. So, if you also struggle with the pause, know you’re not alone. Let’s keep trying to communicate with love and respect, and I truly believe everything will be fine.

Well, at least most of the time. Unless you are the confused gentleman I bear-hugged from behind at a recent social event. But in my defense, your dinner jacket was identical to my husband’s, and it was date night.

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