Monday, August 14, 2017

On the Road with Chief Joseph and JFK

If you know who Chief Joseph is, you might wonder about the combination of names in the title. But, maybe you don't know Chief Joseph. And, maybe you don't even know JFK.

You say, "Well, sure I know JFK. Everyone knows our 35th president."

Sorry, but that's not the one I have in mind. And, Chief Joseph was the now-famous Nez Perce who marched his tribe 1200 miles from Oregon territory to the border with Canada in 1877 hoping to escape wars and fighting and removal from ancestral lands. Sadly, his effort failed. His people were turned back to US property.

Fortunately for his tears and trouble, he left us with famous words of which my personal friend JFK reminded me many times over the years. His reminders came in his own stand to "Work no more, forever."

Which followed on Chief Joseph's immortal statement: "I will fight no more, forever."

I think Joseph lived up to his decree. JFK - James Francis Kinerk - failed. He went back to work at different times for a brother-in-law to pay bills until Social Security arrived. He, however, never returned to a regular insurance job.

All of this leads up to my own pronouncement coming on ten months of silence and contemplation: "To argue no more forever."

I hope I can live up to this stand like Chief Joseph. One of my reflections on the value of silence is that I have had only one argument since closing my mouth. That one occurred because people thought I was shunning them, jeopardizing them by my silence. It was a very brief moment which caused me to leave and "discuss" the situation by email. 

My Year of Silence was about me. Not about anybody else. It has taught me the value of less talk.

Saying less, valuing silence more, and that speaking if possible only to improve the silence should at least help to limit my ability and (some think) talent to get into arguments.

My cogitations have also reminded me that there is not much worth arguing about. That people believe what they believe because of who they are, where they have been, and the years of their experience. Argument rarely, rarely changes anyone. If anything it adds fuel to the fire. 

As a friend in Lavina used to say, "A woman convinced against her will is of the same opinion still." That truism fits men as well.

So, hold me to it. And, watch me hold my tongue - even though I will be speaking again soon. I will be much less verbal than in the past. And ...

"I will argue no more forever." 

Chief Joseph and James Francis Kinerk can be heard in the ethers saying, "AMEN."

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