Listen. Consider. Don’t presume. Pause. Deep breath. Step back. Walk away. Return. Wrestle. Question. Seek understanding. Be gracious. Forgive. Seek forgiveness. Explain. Communicate. Laugh.
“She taught me how to wage a cold war with quiet charm, but I just want to walk through my life unarmed…”
“It is difficult to bless and not to curse when one’s control of a situation is taken away. I witness daily the cursing which is the result of impotence. My threshold of anger is much lower than it used to be. Small annoyances provoke much too strong a reaction of irritation. I may not curse, but blessings do not come to my lips as often as I would like…
So it is with all of life. If our usual response to an annoying situation is a curse, we’re likely to meet emergencies with a curse. In the little events of daily living we have the opportunity to condition our reflexes, which are built up out of ordinary things. And we learn to bless first of all by being blessed. My reflexes of blessing have been conditioned by my parents, my husband, my children, my friends.
Blessing is an attitude toward all of life, transcending and moving beyond words. When family and friends gather around the table to break bread together, this is a blessing. When we harden our hearts against anyone, this is a cursing. Sometimes a person, or a group of people, do or say something so terrible that we can neither bless nor curse. They are anathema. We put them outside the city walls, not out of revenge, not out of hate, but because they have gone beyond anything we fragile human beings can cope with. So we say, Here, God, I’m sorry. This is more than I can handle. Please take care of it. Your ways are not our ways. You know what to do. Please.”
~ Madeleine L’Engle, A Circle of Quiet