by Sr. Sheila Campbell MMM Ireland 22.07.2022
Last week someone came into the kitchenette in our office area and took a tea towel. I say ‘took’ although I am tempted to say ‘stole’. I was mad, furious, and beside myself at the injustice of it. How could they! I had bought these with my own money, labelled thm with a permanent marker, and was beginning to feel pride in looking after our common area. I was strongly tempted to march into another kitchenette and steal one of their tea towels. Before I go any further, I am pleased to say I resisted the temptation.
Why am I telling you this story? Because these kinds of incidents happen to us everyday and often our emotions are stirred up, but we go on with our lives without really reflecting on what these emotions are doing to our ‘inside’. Not that there is anything wrong with emotions. They are neither good nor evil, just something to be acknowledged and accepted. I find if I don’t recognise that I am all stirred up, God help the next person who crosses my path! I will take it out on them although they have nothing to do with the affair! I can get despondent, discouraged and at worst, fall into depression, because I have not looked at the underlying anger.
The same thing happens with larger social problems. I can get irate with the injustice of war, with global hunger, with the climate crisis. The problem is not the fact that I feel strongly, but what action am I going to do, rather than just react?
So today I sit with my missing tea towel. What am I going to do about it? First, get a sense of proportion. A missing tea towel is not the end of the world. I can go and buy another. I can use an old one. Or, I could make a scene and make myself and everyone else miserable. We all have choices. Today I pray for a sense of balance – and a sense of humour – to see things in their proper perspective.