Better to be quiet

Published 8:58 am Wednesday, October 22, 2014

At times we all unintentionally say the wrong thing. Most of us don’t try to trip another person up with our comments, but sometimes silence really is golden. Since I am scheduled for hip replacement surgery soon I would like to share a few thoughts on things not to say to a person awaiting surgery:

“I know someone who had that done, and they said the pain was horrible!”

“You know you won’t be feeling like doing anything for a long time.”

“Oh no! That’s terrible!”

“Don’t you think you should get a second opinion?”

“Lots of people get hooked on pain meds after surgery!”

Seriously, this is just a little heads up. When people are facing any kind of challenge they are fighting an internal battle to remain positive whether they admit it or not. My best advice is some my grandmother taught me. If you don’t know what to say sometimes it’s best to say nothing.

One of my friends called me the other day and said the perfect thing. When I shared my discouragement at all of the negative comments I had been hearing from well-meaning folks, she said, “Girl, you know you’re tough. You have been dealing with this pain for over two years. It is going to be such a relief when it’s all over. Granny Barrett had a hip replacement at 90 years old, and she did great. She was up and walking the next day.”

My friend Rosie’s encouragement helped me get my thinking back on the right track. I believe dread of a thing is often the worst part of the process. Even if surgery and rehab prove to be more difficult than I am anticipating, I would rather live through it only once without rehearsing the worst-case scenario with every thoughtless comment.

Each of us will encounter a certain amount of pain, both physical and emotional, in this life. If you have lived any length of time, I’m not telling you a thing you don’t know. But dread is a form of fear. Not many things can steal a person’s joy and positive outlook quicker than giving in to it.

I try to be positive, looking at the good in a situation. But I’m afraid I was failing miserably on the morning of Rosie’s call. Sometimes the smallest thing, just a phone call and an encouraging word, can make more of a difference than we imagine.

When Rosie called me her words helped counteract the dread I was experiencing. When I stopped focusing on the negative and started focusing on the positive I was able to make a decision to feed my spirit with God’s Word. The answers to all of life’s questions can be found there. The Bible is truly alive and has power, power to calm my anxious thoughts and give me peace.

Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee. Isaiah 41:10

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at