Thursday, November 20, 2008

You Just Never Know

Therese, center, in the convent laundry

Dear readers:
Has someone ever done something to you that you didn't like? Of course, it has happened to all of us. And many of us never miss a moment to correct that person of his or her wrongdoing, right? Like the time someone cuts in line ahead of us at the store. We let that person know we were the next in line. Or when someone hurts our feelings, we tell them, don't we?

There is nothing wrong with standing up for yourself, especially if it is something big and hurtful. But for the small stuff in life, sometimes it is better to keep silent. Maybe we don't know the real reason the person cut in line, even if it seemed rude. It could very well be that she was late picking up her child from school, or someone at home urgently needed an item she was buying. And perhaps that person who hurt our feelings had no idea he was doing it and is normally kind, or we were feeling oversensitive that day. How many times have we found out some important information later that made us say, "Oh, so that's why he was crabby to me today. If only I had known, I wouldn't have been so hard on him."

Therese knew this, and she knew how much silence could be golden at times. This does not mean that she was a doormat. But maybe, just maybe, denying our self will can do beautiful things for the common good of everyone. Maybe it can make the world a more peaceful place.

Therese had many opportunities to practice denying self will in her short life. For example, while washing handkerchiefs in the laundry at her convent in Lisieux, Therese worked near a sister who would continuously splash her with warm, dirty water. She so badly wanted to draw back and wipe her face, just so this sister would realize how annoyed this made her. But she never did. Imagine how hard this must have been for her! But who knows what this sister had on her mind while this happened. Maybe she was having a really hard day and was upset about something and was not splashing Therese on purpose.

It's something to think about. Sometimes it's best to simply say to yourself, "Oh, just let it go."

You just never know what people are going through.


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