The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 7, 2013

See, hear and speak no evil

By Peggy Goodrich, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

— Do you see no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil? Think about it.

Do you remember the monkeys sitting in a row with their hands over their mouths, ears and eyes? I collect those little monkey statues to remind us to see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. It reminded me that when we were at one of Jim’s Marine reunions, three of us wives struck that pose and everyone took our pictures. When we all got together, we did a lot of visiting, but no one ever spoke badly of anyone, or listened to such talk, nor saw anything wrong with any of us. We all just loved each other. Those days of reunions are a thing of the past, as there are so few of Jim’s group left, but the message remains the same.

That little statue and what it stands for goes way back to when I was a little kid. We were encouraged to speak nicely or say nothing. Mother would tell us, “Don’t believe every thing you hear and only half of what you see.” What we see is not always the way things actually are, as we don’t know the circumstances behind the actions. When I see news reports of “police brutality,” I always question what is truly going on. We don’t know how much it took to subdue the person being “attacked.” We don’t know what kind of language is involved or what transpired before the pictures were made. So I believe only half of what I see and figure the law enforcers know best and are using their best judgment with the knowledge at hand.

If we look for bad things, we will find them. Sadly, some people live in a world of gloom and doom, where they actually look for negative things in their lives. They are always those sicker than anyone else, or worse off financially or taken advantage of by everyone. They play a game of “poor me.” Being around such people is like being sucked into a black hole. I feel sorry for them. They feel that they have a little black cloud following them around, and it almost becomes a habit.

Then there are those positive people who always look for something happy and upbeat.

And you know what ... they find something happy. They see no evil. They see the silver lining around each cloud. They are a joy to be around. That does not mean they have no sadness or sickness or sorrow in their lives, it just means they have learned to cope with it and look around them for something cheerful and positive. They have a deep faith that things will get better.

Jim and I have a large monkey statue on on our front porch. I hope it says to the world that our household does not tolerate those who speak evil, or see evil or hear evil. Also on my kitchen shelf, I have a little statue to remind me when I start to talk about someone or see something unpleasant or hear gossip, that I will not participate in such ways.

Beyond seeing and hearing and speaking, I feel we need to think no evil. For as we think, we are. I don’t want to be evil and sorrowful and distressed and in a state of calamity. I don’t want to speak of misfortune and wrongdoings, discomforts and offensive and wicked thoughts. That does not mean I want people to not tell me their troubles or about their illnesses. I do care. But there is a way to act and a way to react, and I prefer being positive and assured of better things to come.

Maybe “evil” is not the word we are wanting here. Evil, in this sense, does not mean that people are sinful or wicked, but just whiny or disgruntled. It does not mean that people are liars or dishonest, it just means that they are down-in-the-mouth most of the time. It does not mean that they perpetuate bad rumors about others, it just means that they don’t stop a juicy bit of gossip. Sometimes they even look for something to tattle about.

Living by the motto of “see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil” does not mean that we go around with our heads stuck in the sand like an ostrich. We do see what is going on, but just choose not to dwell on unpleasant things and be cheerful and happy. We choose to look for good in everyone. We find it more pleasant to hear kind remarks than cutting ones. We don’t want to hurt someone by an unkind comment.

I can truthfully say that I never heard my mother say an unkind thing about a living soul. She saw good in everyone. She defended anyone that someone was speaking ill about. She felt the worst person in the world was loved by somebody and had some good in them. Sometimes it was hard to see, but it was there, nevertheless. I will never be the person my mother was.

I know this quote, but I don’t know who said it: “There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us, that it hardly behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us.” So true! And it hardly behooves any of us to see bad things about anybody or hear anything bad about anyone, either. We need to clean our own doorstep!

Most everyone I know lives a positive, cheerful existence. If I talk bad about someone, I am no better than they are. I just feel sorry for those who cannot be satisfied with life and think dark thoughts all the time.

These cool days of late spring call us to bake something. What better way to fire up the ol’ oven than to bake a pie like this one. A piece of pie will bring out the best in all of us.

Apricot/Pineapple Pie

Pastry for 2-crust pie

2 cups dried apricots

3⁄4-cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple

1 tablespoon butter

Cut dried apricots in fourths and add a bit of water. Cook in microwave until tender. Drain off any juice/water. Combine sugar, flour, undrained crushed pineapple and apricots. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Dot with butter. Top with vented pie shell. Seal and flute edges. Bake in 350-degree oven about one hour until nicely browned. Serve warm with a dollop of ice cream.

Note: It always pays to put foil or a cookie pan under pie as it bakes, to protect your oven from spills.

Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.