Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 11, 2002
Small stuff matters, so let's be kinder
By MSGR. JIM LISANTE
Ever have one of those days when you're going along, feeling fine and then somebody does something to really aggravate you?
After all, whether a driver snags your parking space or a co-worker infringes on your turf or a friend criticizes your child's behaviour, it's their fault. There's no doubt about it, it's hard to cut other folks any slack when they are so obviously unreasonable.
What is the matter with people? They can be so thoughtless. Or worse, what they're doing is so stupid and wrong, it must be intentional.
Well, maybe. When we calm down, most of us know that making mistakes is one part of being human. Here's a quote by the often-wise Anonymous that I find appropriate in a lot of situations:
When the other person acts that way, he's ugly . . . When you do, it's nerves.
When she's set in her ways, she's obstinate . . . When you are, it's just firmness.
When he doesn't like your friends, he's prejudiced . . . When you don't like his, you're showing good judgment of human nature.
When she tries to be accomodating, she's "apple-polishing" . . . When you do it, you're using tact.
When he takes time to do things, he's slow . . . When you take ages, you're deliberate.
When she picks flaws, she's cranky . . . When you do, you're discriminating.
None of us want to be judged on the occasional foolish things we do, but on our overall conduct and character. We want to be given the benefit of the doubt. More than that, we want to see ourselves as open-minded and large-hearted people who are willing to offer that gift, as well.
As time goes by, though, I become more and more convinced that it is in the small everyday moments of life that we show what we are really made of.
Your personality, your beliefs, your values, as well as your virtues and vices, don't just wait for a crisis or a life-changing event to come into play. And that's why we need to be generous and gentle and truthful with one another.
Alan Paton, the great South African writer who spoke and worked against apartheid for decades, wrote: "Life has taught me that active loving saves one from the shortcomings of society and the waywardness of men. (Life) has taught me to seek sustenance from the endeavour itself, but to leave the result to God.
"To try to be free of self-deception, to try to see with clear eyes oneself and others and the world, does not necessarily bring an indiluted happiness. Yet it is something I would not exchange for any happiness built on any other foundation.
"There is only one way in which one can endure man's inhumanity to man and that is, to try in one's own life to exemplify man's humanity to man."
God never meant "being human" to be something we should be sorry about, but rather something to rejoice about.
(For a free copy of the Christopher News Note, Living the Good Life - Why Values Matter, write: The Christophers, 12 East 48 St., New York, NY, 10017; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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