Lord make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is Hatred let me sow Love; where there is Injury, Pardon; where there is Doubt, Faith; where there is Despair, Hope; where there is Darkness, Light. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be Consoled, as to Console; not so much to be Understood as to Understand; to be Loved as to Love. St. Francis
“Nobody understands me!” “I wish they could just see it from my side!” “If they would walk in my shoes just for a moment, they would change their tune!” How often these words been mine, either spoken out loud or at the tip of my tongue.
We truly do want to be understood—how we are feeling, what our opinion is, the solution we have for an issue or problem. But in this prayer, St. Francis pulls me to look outside of myself to the “others” in my life. Encouraging others to “say more,” to invite more words, or to simply to wait quietly, may be the exact invitation needed for healing venting and sharing to take place. At the least, leading with understanding will provide clarity as to the depth and seriousness of what is being shared and will be extremely important in forming my response. This is not easy when my story seems so much more colorful, when my pain or anger is seeking a release, or when I feel I have the absolute true solution for their problem.
But do you know what happens? When I seek to understand and resist having my story be front and center, in time (sometimes later rather than sooner which makes it harder!) someone seeks to understand me and becomes for me the healing instrument of peace. Our Lord listened, our Lord invited others to tell their story, our Lord shared his story in how he lived, died, rose again, and is with us today. He sought to understand more than being understood.
Prayer: Help me to cherish the stories of others for in doing so my story will be told. Amen.
Tomorrow: Loving Leads to being Loved