I have a loved one who is firmly entrenched in not being able to see the glass at all. She is a champion at reciting past hurts, insults and transgressions at dizzying speed. I'm not saying that she doesn't have reason to be hurt, but how long is long enough to carry around that garbage?
I don't have all the answers. Not by a long shot. I still find some people hard to love and I struggle. But I am learning. These are a couple of the things I've learned:
1. Different families have different expectations of what is 'normal' or 'expected'. You can't hold people to the same standard as your own family. That's asking for trouble.
When buying our house, we asked my sister and her husband for their opinion, trusting it more than our own and trusting they would tell us what they truly thought. When my daughter and her husband were looking seriously at a house they asked our opinion and his parents opinion. They said nothing, we said lots. I could not stand back and watch them make what in my opinion was a serious mistake. Nor could I understand his parents' silence. Perhaps they couldn't believe my 'meddling'. Different families, different ways.
2. It does absolutely no good to carry grudges and look for the bad. It takes a lot of energy to do both things. It is not being strong to be able to cast people out of your life for petty things, it is weak. Forgiveness takes strength and work. It takes humility since we can't do somethings all on our own. We need to ask for help and grace.
3. The book Crucial Conversations -tools for talking when the stakes are high was an eye-opener for me. It wasn't a fluffy, feel-good book. It had a lot of common sense to it. One of the most interesting pieces was how we fill in details about something we have observed. We stray from facts - the action or statement of someone else - and color in our own details, based on nothing and how that filler we provide gets in the way of our having a conversation with someone else; at the very least it makes that conversation difficult.
4. Take things at face value and assume positive intent. Don't go looking for motive. Don't be suspicious.
5. Accept people as they are - warts and all. If you have a friend who always wants your help but is scarce when you need her or isn't well acquainted with the truth - don't be surprised if she's not around when you need a friend but if she is, bonus! Don't have unrealistic expectations.
Nothing I've learned is particularly creative, original, earth shattering or particularly new. But it was new to me. Now I need to figure out how to help my loved one. If you think of it during your prayers, please pray for my loved one.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee! Mary, look with favor upon us, grant us the graces we most need. Amen.
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