Those who know me well are quite aware that I adore a good book and admire terrific writing. When I have the time, I can devour several books in a single week. This week, because I have a kiddo who asked, I found myself curiously reviewing the humor and memorable characters of American writer, Mark Twain. How bizarre is it that a man who’s been dead over a hundred years really got me noodling over the current state of affairs?
Mark Twain once said, “It’s better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
Yet, here I go, again.
I’m a big fan of welcome mats. Ditto, those big signs over the highway that declare things like “WELCOME TO MICHIGAN!”
What could be more simple or straight forward, right? When I see that cheerful sign on the highway, I know I’ve arrived in the land full of blueberries and big blue water. I believe they are happy I’m there. I appreciate the sunny greeting and take the people of the great state of Michigan at their word. When we’re on a road trip, we usually cheer as we pass this sign and others like it.
I believe most of us who live in these United States of America are in fact pretty darn terrific. Although I present to you not one shred of objective proof, I believe we hold the most important things in common. For instance, I stand by my belief that nearly ALL OF US want a bright future for our children. We want to live in peace. We want our families to live in a place where they love and are loved now and down the line. Truly and utterly, I unequivocally believe this. Things happen in every generation that shake us, it’s true. Nevertheless, America is full of beautiful faces who are generous and amazing and loved by their Creator.
Here’s more wisdom from Twain. “The pause—that impressive silence, that eloquent silence, that geometrically progressive silence which often achieves a desired effect where no combination of words, howsoever felicitous, could accomplish it.”
When we pour forth negativity on whatever is happening this news cycle, or insist on pursuing our own viewpoint on social media, ad nauseum, even though our intent may indeed be righteous, I find it often is misconstrued and turns out to be divisive. The path forward for me involves more prayer and more listening. I’m not putting an asterisk next to my welcome mat to clarify who I mean. I’m just not that complicated. You’re ALL welcome. I’m happy to have you at my tailgate party– even if your son is lined up against mine on the line of scrimmage tonight.
Usually, I’m a woman of more words than less. Even my blog posts are usually a reliable 1000 words or more. I’m arguing this day for the opposite. Well, unless you are a millennial who wants to take me on over my use of the totally appropriate and not outdated double space. I’m not old. I’m just right. Ha?
“I had been accustomed to vote for Republicans more frequently than Democrats, but I was never a Republican and never a Democrat. In the community, I was regarded as a Republican, but I had never so regarded myself. As early as 1865 or ’66 I had had this curious experience: that whereas up to that time I had considered myself a Republican, I was converted to a no-party independence by the wisdom of a rabid Republican. This was a man who was afterward a United States Senator, and upon whose character rests no blemish that I know of, except that he was the father of the William R. Hearst of today, and therefore the grandfather of Yellow Journalism- that calamity of calamities.” (Autobiographical dictation by Mark Twain, 1906).
Amen, Mr. Clemens….and God Bless America.