I’ve had some unexpected challenges this week that have tested my ability and desire to be civilized and forgiving. I’ll just say it was something out of my control, our family is bearing the brunt of it, and we’ve seen no remorse, nor any attempt at contact from the perpetrators.
It’s one of those situations where someone dished it out and you just have to take it, for the moment, even though every impulse is to claw and scratch. Of course, that’s not a very productive reaction, and it’s not me. It might feel good, but then where are you?
That’s how it is, though, when something swings uninvited into your life and blindsides you. Being powerless is the worst feeling possible.
I’ve prayed and meditated a lot over the past few days for patience and perspective. And for wisdom to choose my steps carefully, looking at the long view, and not just how I feel today. It’s important for me to model behavior for my kids, no matter how old they are. Because what they see me do, they will do.
So I have been reaching deep to perpetuate the turn-the-other-cheek philosophy as I’ve thought about the people who have made me who I am. My parents, of course. Friends and relatives. Some teachers. And some people I never knew, but wished I had. Like Mother Teresa, for example. Or Ghandi.
Then I ran across an article a friend posted on Facebook about Fred Rogers. Laugh if you will, but I have always loved Mr. Rogers. He may have passed into memory, but his messages haven’t and I think often of the way he gently accepted everybody with quiet grace and made them feel special. I always did, even if just a little girl on the other side of the TV screen.
Our issue is far from resolved. But as I read that story this morning, and looked at old Rogers’ familiar friendly face, I found some little measure of hope that even though I can do nothing to alter current circumstances, I can control how I respond to them.
And when I thought about that, I knew that while I may not be in a great place right now, I probably will feel better as I move through it, and think some more about that example, and how I, in turn, want to be perceived.