The Gift of Slow Wit

I’ve always been plagued with a slow wit. If I’m arguing with someone or if someone insults me, I am usually flat-footed and unable to respond with any kind of witty zinger.


I usually think of some kind of comeback later, as my brain goes over and over the incident. I’ve always looked at this inability to defend myself as a kind of detriment, but my 15 year-old gave me a new way to think about it.

Something happened at her voice lesson that really, really irritated her (both on her own behalf on and on the behalf of the other student in the room). An adult spoke carelessly and bluntly, hurting the girls’ feelings. My daughter has about the same ability to think of a comeback as I do (though she’s marginally better at times), and was standing in shock when the adult left the room again.

She told me later that she had thought of a big zinger she could have said to the adult, really giving it to her, but (a) there was no longer an opportunity and (2) she knows not to speak to adults that way. Then she said something that really made me think differently about our shared experience of lacking a good comeback.

“I really think it’s a gift that I don’t think of this stuff sooner, or I’d really get myself into trouble sometimes.”

What truth! I realized right then that my slow thinking has probably saved me a ton of angry exchanges and a boatload of sins to confess to my priest. What I’ve always seen as a lack has really been a great gift. So from now on, I’m not going to worry about whether or not I can come up with a snappy response to someone. If I’m busy making snappy responses, I’m not acting in love. God has given me the gift of a slow wit because it gives me a better chance to love someone (or, at the very least, not to repel them immediately).

What I need is to be more like Jesus (who opened not His mouth) and less like Lorelai Gilmore.


Text ©2017 Christine Johnson

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