My family (both sides do this, Brian’s people as well as mine, though this week it’s Brian’s family behaving badly) is once again bent on proving that there are no problems so great that a huge, steaming side of gossip cannot make them worse. Things (words spoken (or not), things done (or not)) come back to us incredibly warped, unrecognizable, and someone always has to play the villain in these new stories. And of course by “someone”, I mean “me”.
Having learned my lesson the hard way, I will not here recount the sins of my family, with their gossipy ways and their backbiting, two-faced behavior. No, I’m not going to do that, for several reasons. One is, God said don’t do that. Now, I’m not really great with the whole blind obedience thing, even when it’s appropriate, but eventually, through good old life experience, I always find out that God was right. (Duh, God being the creator of all reality and everything.) So there’s that. Also, even if gossiping didn’t come around to bite me in the ass, it makes me a smaller person. Sure, I can set up my evidence like bowling pins and convince all listeners of the infallibility of my position. And then what have I done? Assassinated someone’s character. Yay, me!
Finally, of course, there’s the fact that if I gossip, it WILL (without any doubt at all) come back to bite me in the ass. Count on it.
Gossip is the evil twin of an evil-er twin known as triangulation. Our families are especially masterful at this one. Of course, Brian and I are both divorced, so our ex-spouses make magical, convenient third players in this foul game.
The solution to all of this? We do our dead-level best to keep our own noses clean, to not participate in any of it. Much easier said than done, of course, especially while we still have minor children (as magical and convenient as pawns as the ex-spouses are as players) living at home, but we do our best.
And then we occupy ourselves with our own lives: raising kids, going to church, keeping house, earning a living. Also praying. Lots of praying. Sometimes I’m tempted to pray that the people who I’m mad at will fall off the edge of the earth, or at least lose their cell phones and stop calling me, but no. I pray for them, that they will have joyful, satisfying lives full of peace and contentment. They (“they” being my spiritual advisers) tell me that eventually this will work, that I will begin to soften in my feelings toward these people. I’m still waiting (and praying), but in spite of my apparent bitterness, I do have faith that God really isn’t interested in watching me get stuck in a quagmire of resentment and eventually I’ll get better at maintaining my boundaries.