We have had a young German lad staying with us for the past week. His English is excellent and his knowledge of the European political situation and history puts ours to shame. His plan is to study international law at university and all I can say is, "World, watch out – Jan is on his way!"
Normally I would not discuss politics with a guest, not if I want to maintain a cordial relationship, but seeing as this is his area of study I thought I would ask what his opinion was of Angela Merkel.
"She is doing an excellent job!" he said, and laughed. "Considering that her job is to do nothing."
Which reminded me of President Coolidge who is reputed to have said that nothing was often a good thing to do and always a good thing to say. (I believe, during his presidency, he pursued a course of masterly inactivity.)
Not always, however. We have to consider also that evil flourishes when good men do nothing.
But, on the whole, I rather think "nothing" has a lot to offer.
My mother always says, "If you can't find anything nice to say then say nothing." And, when I hear my daughters employing their venomous tongues on each other and occasionally on me (they wouldn't dare say those kind of things to their father) I think my mother is very wise.
In recent months, especially coming up to the election, I have found myself disagreeing violently with the political posts some of my friends have been uploading to social media. I have had to restrain myself from either a) commenting in a negative fashion or
b) uploading posts representing my own political views. I acknowledge that their views are set in stone, as are mine. In the interests of maintaining those friendships, silence is my best ally.
And what of my good friend who when, going through a bad time recently, found himself surrounded by Job's comforters? You know the ones – they do more harm than good with unwanted advice, sensible suggestions and snide complacency. Wouldn't we all rather that friend who comes and says helplessly, "I don't know what to say – I'm so sorry I can't do anything to help..." but yet who stays with us, wordlessly offering comfort and tissues?
So words can be silver, but sometimes silence is golden.
And is always best accompanied by a hug.
A Moodscope member.