“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” – Henry David Thoreau
This quote is powerful. We’ve all experienced both sides of this…
About a year ago… I’m having a rough evening… Summer is being a terrible toddler and stomping on the floor. My downstairs neighbor is banging on his roof (my floor) constantly to “shut us up”. So I stomp back with anger. If only he could understand what I was going through, maybe he would be a little more compassionate.
A few months ago… new neighbors move in upstairs. Every day they have a ping pong match going on until, sometimes 11PM at night. I am studying or sleeping and someone misses their swing and the ball rolls onto the floor…. bouncing… and bouncing. Weeks of this going by, damn near every night. Finally, I’ve had enough… I go upstairs and knock on the door explaining what I hear all during the night and how I can’t concentrate on my studies, or I can’t sleep. Halfway through my whining… a two year old boy comes running to the door and tosses a ping pong ball out into the hallway. Apparently, that ping pong ball is his favorite toy.
OOPS. Where was my empathy?? I should know better having experienced this myself.
Seek first to understand. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle – hardship, illness, loss, grief, disappointment, wounds. If we knew this… would we treat them with more love? Be more understanding? Forgiving? Compassionate?