Even though I usually save renewal for the spring, this years’ timeline for me didn’t exactly line up that way, but I realize renewal is now a year round event for me. This fall I started facilitating at a Parish school of Religion program, went on a weekend retreat and just spent the last day and a half at a renewal program called Christ renews his parish. While all of these have been religious events the lessons are for everyone and anyone regardless of any affiliation. Let’s just call them life lessons. Even though many of the lessons I have been learning I have heard in some way shape or form before this weekend confirmed something I did not know. It’s called confirmation. Whenever you hear something whether it be scripture or a story or a reference several times it is considered confirmation, something we really need to know. When I asked Braden the theme of tonights show to craft my message he told me it was Gina Sylvestro and killing them with kindness might be a good one. It brought to mind a story we shared at PSR. The story of St Therese of Lisieux who became a nun at age 15. She actually traveled to Italy and begged the then pope to become a nun at her young age. She knew she needed to love God, and she did so by being nice to all the people she met. There was one nun that really annoyed her and was really mean to her. But Therese knew she was called to love this nun and be kind to her. Since the nun was mean to her, Therese was extra nice to her. After a time, this nun realized that Therese was the nicest and thought they were the best of friends. Only after Therese died did she find out via Therese’s diary that Therese thought she was annoying and mean. We are called to be like Therese, even those we don’t like we are called to be kind to and to love. We will not like everyone we meet, but they don’t need to know it!
In life and work we will have challenges, but we are not defined by our struggles, we are defined by how we react to them. So I’d like to share a few more life tips tonight, food for thought.
Everyone we meet has their own unique journey much of which we have no idea. They are the way they are because that journey has formed them. We may not agree with what they do, or how they behave, but it’s not our job to decide whether they are right or wrong. We are supposed to be kind and love them where they are.
It is pointless to be envious of another person. God has given each of us talents and gifts that are uniquely our own. Some of us haven’t even discovered all of our talents so be patient with yourself. Your light will shine in the way it is meant to shine. In the meantime, be thankful for the gifts of others and be grateful how God made each one of us.
Speak of others only in kind ways. I have to say this is one I struggle with I will admit, I fall down here, a lot. Gossiping about another is wasted energy and kills their spirit in ways we may never even know. I shared with my PSR group the film clip from the movie Doubt about gossip. I strongly recommend each one of you watch it. It is powerful. In short when a woman is confessing to gossip to her priest and asks if gossiping is bad he instructs her to take a feather pillow and go up on her roof and slit it open and return to him the next day. When she returns he asked her what happened. Feathers, she said tall over. Ah he said, I want you to go and pick up every one of those feathers. It’s impossible she said, the wind took them everywhere. That, he said is gossip. I know salons can be the mother ship of gossip at times and this is challenging for me as well. But every time I think to speak I remember this image of the feathers. And I choose kindness instead. So be kind, be grateful and be positive.