By: Lucy Cardet OSF
Being an instrument of peace involves understanding. The key is seeking …
It is human to want to be understood and sometimes frustrating when we are not. In the diversity of who we are, no two of us are exactly alike. If we are to be at peace with one another, we need to try to understand each other.
This seeking to understand involves a form of self-denial, of putting the other first. Doing so does not diminish one’s own value. It requires respect of the other, the same respect we want for ourselves. It requires attention and intentional listening. It transforms how we receive what another shares.
It sometimes calls for dialogue and clarification to understand what we hear. For example, you may say that “John Smith should not be a teacher”. I may guess that you are questioning his ability or character…unless I ask you if that’s what you mean. “Oh no, he is married with a family to support and the salary is so low”. Becoming aware that I don’t always understand what another person means can be humbling and yet helpful in seeking relevant information.
One of the ‘learnings” that comes from travel to different countries or from trying to relate with others is that there are so many ways to do the same thing. As we try to understand (even though we may not agree), we may find that God is more creative than any one of us could imagine. We can always learn more, if we are willing….if we seek to understand, even if it means being stretched a bit. May God grant us the grace to do so. Amen.