It was one of those weeks that makes me grateful other people can’t see into my head, which was more than usually full of all that muck we rather wish we didn’t carry around inside of us— fear, a sense of inferiority, frustration, meanness.
A religious sister once couldn’t overcome her inability to be patient with the other sisters in her community. She asked St. Thérèse of Lisieux what to do. St. Thérèse didn’t say a word about how to treat the other sisters but instead counseled her to be patient with her own impatience.
I decided to take St. Thérèse’s advice. I wrote myself a list of questions: Can I be loving with my cruelty? Can I be understanding with my frustration? Can I tell the voice that sees only lack that it is enough?
The answer was yes—for a few seconds at a time every now and then. Did it make a difference? It depends on what you consider a difference, I suppose. Was it all sunshine and butterflies after my first few attempts? No indeed, not even after many attempts. Was I more loving to those around me? No way to tell without popping over to the alternate universe where I chose to be overwhelmed with feelings of self-pity or take a sick week.
Though a sick week sounds pretty good—and sometimes we need those—other times we just need to stand in our own skin and be OK with ourselves as we are. There is that saying that the only way out is through. I’ve always pictured that as a relatively unpleasant journey, but maybe the only way through is love and acceptance.