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I knew it was going to be a bad week, Harriet had left three messages for me to call her back.

‘Janet’, says Harriet, when we finally connected. I could tell by the sound of her voice that I was right that this wasn’t going to be good. “Daisy is at it again. She says you aren’t doing your job.” “What exactly is she talking about!” I say, barely able to control the mounting cuss words that want to come out of my mouth. “You know, same old thing” says Harriet. I can hear the little bit of niggling doubt in her voice that she is hoping I will dispel. Despite the fact that Daisy has no particular jurisdiction over the job I am or am not doing that is being discussed between she and Harriet, nor does she have any reason to provide any critique to Harriet concerning said job, Daisy can be THAT convincing and clever and alarm-producing.  “I have done blah, blah. And then blah…” I explain and defend and drone on as I iterate the various realities that contradict the complaints of Daisy.

You need to know something about Daisy (not her real name) to understand where I am going with this story. She is a smart, knowledgeable, interesting woman (maybe not her real gender), who has always struck me to be like other people: she has the need to love people and have them love her back. But there is something wrong with Daisy.  Publically, she is gracious, complimentary, and formally sincere and engaging. However, and I know this from personal late night phone calls from her, in private she has become increasingly interested in confessions of doubt about various people. She can be dangerously malicious. And as she has gotten older, she develops levels of hatred for what seems to be random individuals, which at times consume her. Nothing dissuades the tide of her emotion once she gets started and it has always been with utter amazement that I have listened to whom she chooses to target.

I can feel Harriet’s relief over the phone.  “I had complete faith in you,” says Harriet, truthful and friendly, calmed. We both acknowledge to ourselves the ramifications Daisy’s dramatic fallacies have created and the machinations we have had to incur to fix them. The machinations we are still incurring to fix them.

“You know its just because she is hoping she can come in and save the situation,” Harriet says.

Yeah, I know, I think to myself. But I am really angry. As Harriet keeps talking I realize that Daisy’s level of gossiping has increased to damaging lies about me and I realize how much this person who I once counted as a dear friend actually hates me. I wonder to myself how someone can outright lie about someone they have professed being friends with, but I remember the last time I saw Daisy. There was something different in her eyes that day. The softness of friendship had been replaced by the hard glint of hatred in her false smiling brown eyes.

“You know her better than I do, Harriet says. What has happened?” I don’t answer because I don’t know. “What did she expect that you having this conversation with me was going to produce, Harriet” I ask her. Harriet doesn’t say anything for a minute and then admits, “Like I said, she was probably hoping that she would be called upon to come in and do what you were supposed to be doing. Which you are doing,” she interjects quickly. Harriet can tell I am nearing the end of my patience. “Don’t worry about her, okay. This is the way she does things. She talks behind the scenes trying to create a problem. She is not going to say any of these lies publicly. Everybody knows what she is like.”

We end the conversation and while I might mourn the friendship with Daisy that is clearly over, its anger and the feeling of injustice that is literally, seething in me. It’s the sneakiness of it all. My first inclination is to call her up and have an emotional, dramatic, keep your #$(*&!(*  nose out of my business. I certainly would have done that a few years back.  No question she deserves it.

I sat back in my chair and tried to still my mind so that I could consider the best thing to do. Afterall, I had to do something. But what?

I spent a few minutes thinking about Daisy, trying to lock out this latest nastiness. Daisy, never married, no children, no one to call her own. She must be lonely. She has to be. And then it dawns on me. Daisy isn’t who she is because no one loves her. She is who she is because she doesn’t love anyone. She never really has. As she has gotten older, with a steady diet of increasing hate, her heart has gotten smaller and smaller because there is no room for anything else. She has become, despite her being smart and clever, nothing much more than a gossip girl and a drama queen, and a very mean one at that.

Crazy what we humans do. Like this is going to make people like and respect her.

So what rules should I follow in dealing with Daisy.

The last few months I have been doing something per my middle son’s challenge: to read copious amounts of unrelated chapters throughout various books in the King James every day. I must admit, while I haven’t memorized any of those copious amounts of verses, while I sat there, letting my anger subside, amazing to me, snippets of verses filter through my brain.

I moved to pick up the heavy volume, leatherbacked and paged discolored from my rifeling and thought about the message of the things I had been reading. For this situation, the plan of action was clear.  The rules started rolling out.

“When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions.”

“He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out.”

Here’s the thing: there are times when we should fight against injustice and just plain ole meanness, there are certainly verses I have been reading that espouse righteous anger, but not this time. Not much good would come of confrontation, both because of who Daisy has become and because in this case, actions mean more than words. The best plan here was to do my job, ignore what Daisy was perpetrating, and let time reveal the reality. The best proof of her lies was for me to be wise, be kind, be diligent, and be quiet.

Be quiet. Kind of a new concept for me.

I don’t believe that I have ever thought being quiet was the right thing to do.

That’s what reading the Bible will get you.

This Happy Monday, fight if you need to, but, if the right thing to do is to ignore and be quiet, I hope God gives you both the wisdom and strength to do just that!