Wednesday, January 07, 2009


I met with a difficult person today. I think that probably most people would think of this person as difficult. They show that kind of chronic, cranky irritability and tendency to blame everyone but themselves that most people find...well, difficult.

But today I am mindful of how my mind reacts to this person. I want to label them as "difficult," I want them to just be quiet and go away. I presume things (not entirely without reason), such as that they might use their irritability to get their way with people.

But what I struggle to do is to sit with this person, to be present to them. It's disquieting and uncomfortable, and I'd prefer to avoid that discomfort.

In some fundamental sense, really, the problem in this situation is not with this other person. It is my own desire to stay in an emotional place that I find comforting. It is in my reluctance to stay in a situation I find harsh, abrasive, uncomfortable.

So you see, in a way, this terribly difficult person is my teacher on this day. If I can do what I hope, if I can pull this off, I may have just been able to learn, to grow in love and understanding in ways that I had previously avoided.

God help me.


Katherine E. said...

When the student is ready....

(And you are my teacher this evening.)

Diane said...

what Katherine said.

you are my teacher....