Jeff shared a story with me: “One day an Elder told a novice to go fetch a guinea hen. When he returned with it, the Elder told him to pluck it. The novice obeyed, and when he was finished, the Elder said, “Now, put all the feathers back.” Bewildered, the novice finally protested, “But it’s already plucked! I can’t put the feathers back.” “Correct,” the Elder replied, “and it’s the same when you say bad things about your brothers. You pluck away at their reputation, and if you keep on, it may be lost forever.”
My reflection: Gossip is a part of any community. I remember how awful it felt knowing that people were talking about Jeff and our family’s problems. In fact, in Stay Close, I wrote, “Convinced that Jeff was a major topic of conversation in the school, I spiraled into a kind of paranoia.”
Today’s Promise to consider: Addiction is perfect fodder for gossip, but it is destructive and does no good. Today, I won’t be a part of it and will refuse to pluck away at someone’s reputation or integrity. I’ll be mindful of what I say and will respond with compassion and respect.