Sunday, February 5, 2017

Ask permission first

Joyce Sasse, Spiritual Gleanings - I knew she was proud of her self-reliance, but I was more than happy to cut my neighbour’s lawn (while she wasn’t home) and shovel her walk (first thing in the morning).  But I could hardly believe her anger one morning. After a particularly heavy snow-fall, I was shoveling my way in from the street when the door burst open and she started shouted something about “Leave that alone! Who do you think you are anyway?”

“What do you mean?” I replied with a start. “Give me time to work my way up to the step, then we can talk.”

By the time I stepped in the door the rage had subsided, but not the confrontation. “I know you mean well,” she confessed, “but when you just go ahead and do things like that you take away all my power!” After months of trying to find the right words, she was able to give expression to how helpless I made her feel – “as if aging and poor health wasn’t enough to cope with.”

Right then and there we made an agreement. I told her I would be glad to do the walk when the snow packed in (if she would let me), but would leave it for her to do when there was just a skiff. The significant thing being, I realized, we needed to talk together and come to an understanding about these things.

Many of us live in rural communities among people who are fiercely independent. But they also know how important it is to be inter-dependent. All of us need to remind ourselves to be sensitive to how we barge in on each other’s lives, or answer for the other person or find ways to take control without the other person giving us permission.

Step back, take a breath, slow down and talk things through. Amen!

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