Front Porch Wisdom

by Honey Judith Rubin


Before urban sprawl caught up with me, where I used to live was out in the country. Each day, I'd spend some time on my neighbor's porch, just talking about life. Carl was a well-read, self-taught man— just knowing him was a blessing.

One day, while I was venting some self-righteous anger about people I knew, Carl's brother, B.A. drove up. B.A. had the interesting brain patterns of a long time tobacco chewer, – in and out of crisp corn flakes if you know what I mean. He was an old country boy if I ever saw one. He'd sit chewing, thinking and listening and then declare his truth— slowly, deliberately, and spitting every so often for emphasis.

When I paused from my bad-mouthing for a moment, B.A. said, "Have ya ever noticed, (spit) that when ya got ya finger pointin' out at someone, (spit) why, thar's three fingers on thet very same hand, just a pointin' back at yerself!" (spit!)

I laughed. Told B.A. that he had just saved me thousands of dollars. He gave me such wisdom right there on the porch that I didn't even have to go off to India and study with some foreign guru!

It is still amazing to me how that one little moment, that pivotal statement changed my life. I immediately started paying attention to what I was saying about others. Yes, it is true–whatever I say, I am really talking about myself! Holding my tongue while I wait for the kinder gentler helpful/harmless words to surface in my mind (and they are always there!) burns off so much of the pain and self-doubt I stored inside for years. On that day, I began to really look at myself and be truthful about what I invest in, how I create my life, and my relationships where I look for payoffs, rewards and attention.

Ten minutes after I wrote this story a friend sent me an amazingly appropriate poem. As they say in the country, "hits a goodun!" Here's the poem:

Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

What your actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits; they become character.

Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

Frank Outlaw

Tell me, do you still think we are talking about someone or something 'out there' when we open our mouths? :-)

Honey Judith Rubin, 2002 , All Rights Reserved




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