In 2004, I graduated from the University of Georgia. Finally, after four long years of scholastic rebellion, the day arrived. My family was so proud of me and my completion that they all came up for the ceremonies. Unfortunately, another individual also accompanied us to the commencement events, a person that I would soon regret inviting.
This person and I were in a bit of a tiff come graduation time and I could not shake my gloomy mood. All through the ceremony I stirred in my irritation until it was time to meet back up with my family. By that time, I was so annoyed with this particular individual that all I wanted to do was go home and get rid of the Debbie Downer.
Regrettably, in my aggravation, I did not treat my family with the attitude they deserved. I didn’t want to take pictures. I didn’t want to have lunch. I didn’t want to do anything but get out of there! They had come so far, and for what… my pity party? But, alas, in true form they managed to gracefully put on an attitude of toleration and try to celebrate with me in whatever way I would permit. Each member of my family had every right to reprimand me for my unreceptive attitude but, instead, they sat silently with sympathetic sighs of understanding.
It would not have mattered what my family said on that day, my mood was set. As accurate as any of their advice would have been, their words would have fallen on deaf ears. I was tired. I was frustrated. I was done.
“All the counsel you have received has only worn you out!” - NIV
Advice, no matter how wise, is not always the answer. No matter how much we want to speak words of enlightenment, sometimes, there is no greater loan in life than a sympathetic silence.
Every now and then, I suppose, the art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.