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Column: I’ve decided to give up meddling, sort of
Ronda Rich
Ronda Rich

Perhaps you’ll want to sit down for this. It might even be advisable to grab a cool, wet wash rag for your forehead in case you feel swimmy-headed over this news.

I’m going to start minding my own business.

I’m not going to preach, plead or debate on why people should listen to my wisdom, some of it hard-earned through mistakes, some of it intuitive and other bits just plain common sense.

Here’s a mistake: Don’t try to help load a bull for the auction while wearing a shirt with wide, red stripes. Bulls see red. And it makes ‘em mad.

Here’s intuitive: When a night turns unnaturally quiet — the crickets don’t sing and the owls don’t screech — nature is about to unleash some rowdiness.

Here’s common sense: Don’t wear high, slender heels to the graveyard — or an outdoor wedding — when the ground is soft from recent rains. Buy block heels for these occasions. And, most importantly, don’t spend more money than you have.

Rarely do folks really want advice. Most just want you to use up the limited number of words and breaths that the good Lord anointed us with on the day when we were born. 

Why, I now wonder, if God gave me 100,136,548 words to utter over a lifetime would I use them to fall on deaf ears? That means I’m merely taking words off my years. Needlessly.

Tink says one of his least favorite phrases to hear is “Tink, I’m tellin’ you….” This always happens when I’ve forewarned of something that he should do differently than he will do.

Like, for instance, don’t trust someone who has proven untrustworthy. Tink has a remarkably bad memory, so he forgets who has done him wrong in the past or who he’s supposed to be mad at.

This means that I’m supposed to remember not only my grudges but his as well. It’s a tremendous burden to carry.

Tink, though, is not the problem when it comes to advice. He says he is “afeared” of me so he usually does what I “gently” advise.

The problem is two friends of more than 20 years. They are godly women. Well-meaning. Big-hearted. Neither holds a grudge. There are many lovely things to say about both.

However…

I have wasted far too many of my life’s allotted words on them. It used to be that I gave them advice without being asked. That’s my fault. Just like the neon pink polish I chose once for a pedicure. It looked pretty in the bottle but was ghastly on my toes.

I sighed that day when the manicurist asked, “You like color?” She smiled sweetly.

“No,” I replied. “But it’s my choice. I’ll live with it and change it next time.”

My giving up of dispensing advice to these friends happened about the same time. One was in all sorts of family anguish which she could have easily stopped. It had been going on for at least five years. One upset led to another and it became a saga. Had it been television, it would’ve gotten huge ratings.

It absolutely exhausted me. If for no other reason than when she’s upset, she talks fast and leaves out verbs, so I’m depleted quickly by trying to decipher her stories.

The other friend will call and ask for advice. Sincerely. Once, she even said, “I’m worn out. I can’t think. Whatever you tell me, I will do.”

This was encouraging. Exactly what a meddler wants to hear.

Then, without fail, after I have made my carefully weighed assessments and offered counsel, either one of them will always say, “I can’t do that because…”

So, it’s over. There will be no appeal or stay of execution. Neither will be getting further advice.

However…

I’m still available if the rest of y’all should need advice. It would be wrong of me to quit completely.

It’s my calling.


Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of several books, including “What Southern Women Know About Faith.” Sign up for her newsletter at www.rondarich.com. Her column publishes weekly.