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Spontaneous Overflow Reflecting in Tranquility

The Official Blog of Michael Schoenhofer, Executive Director

Thoughts in Uncertainty #2

A Lesson in Humility

These days, instead of flying to Europe or visiting a National Park, I go grocery shopping. My big trip today took over two hours. It took so long because I was trying to see through my glasses, which kept fogging up because of my face covering. I was also trying to keep a safe distance from my fellow shoppers, which meant a lot of stopping and stepping aside. An enormous part of my problem was how much of the time I spent judging everyone.

Two Gen Z young women seemed to take up enough space for ten or twelve people. Then there were the Boomers of my Gen. Some of them would stop in the middle of the aisle and stare at a section of shelving as if waiting for what they wanted to jump off and put itself in the cart. I was so busy judging people harshly that I forgot what I came in the store to do—Get in. Get groceries. Get out.

I asked a grocery worker for help to find a product only to discover that it wasn’t a worker at all but a fellow shopper. He and his wife were very kind to me and tried to help me find what I was looking for. I kept apologizing for my stupidity.

It was a moment of forced humility. I was so busy with my negative thoughts, I failed to notice how many people were being helpful, courteous, and kind. It was a dose of humility I needed at that moment. After that, I took a break from all that judgment and just went about my business. I came home from the grocery store, unpacked the car, and felt exhausted. But this moment gave me a chance to reset from seething attack and anger to extending kindness and compassion.

The prayer of St. Francis of Assisi seems more important to me now more than ever.

. . .Make me an instrument of Your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

Where there is sadness, joy.

May I not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

To be understood, as to understand;

To be loved, as to love. . .

Humility and wishing everyone well are among the highest human values to which I can aspire. This C-virus thing is forcing me to take off the judge’s robe. Instead of looking around finding fault and disagreement, I am trying to look into my own heart to see if I can find a connection with everyone. It’s a tough time for everyone that might last longer than any of us ever expected. And we are all coping in our own way.

I’m going to take a break from judgement for a while and see what happens.

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