Sometimes, you can either be right or you can have peace. That’s the best advice I ever got from my paternal grandfather. As I go through life, I realize just how true this advice truly is.
I was in the sixth grade – I lived with my paternal grandparents in Atlanta, Georgia – while we were making the transition to Maryland. I spent a lot of time with them through the years: many summers, while mom and dad were in grad school, and other occasions too.
One day, my grandmother (we called her Bama – sounds like BammMa) was fussing at Papa. The thing is, she thought he had done something that he in fact hadn’t done. I only know he hadn’t done it because I was there and saw everything. When she finished fussing, she marched off to the kitchen to make dinner. Confused, I asked Papa, “Why didn’t you speak up and tell her you didn’t do it?” That’s when he told me that sage advice. “You can either be right or you can have peace. Sometimes you can’t have both.” He went on to tell me about picking your battles. Through the years, I noticed him sit silently quite often while she fussed at him. They’re gone now, and I miss them so. Their wisdom has carried me through many difficulties.
I didn’t really get it then. But, I get it now. All things don’t require a fight. Many things don’t even require a response. Once you learn when to let things go, life becomes so much simpler.