The Lord speaks of peace
to his people.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
For those of you who are practicing Catholics, you will hear those words in this coming Sunday's gospel. It speaks to us today, just as it did centuries ago to the peoples of the earth.
We hear a lot of talk lately about bullying, particularly in the schools. Less discussed is the subject of painful interactions among adults. I'm not going to even go down the path of political hate speech and the depths of ignorance, spite, and hurt permeating the world political culture today, especially in the United States; however, I am going to zero in on to the most basic groups - families, churches, and workplaces. A growing trend is modern day shunning.
Yesterday a young woman told me that because she chose to marry outside her religion/culture, her own mother has been, in fact, shunning her. The good news is that this mom is slowly coming around to accepting her daughter's decision to pick her own husband. What exactly does shunning look like? Have you ever shunned someone or even been shunned?
The dictionary definition of shunning is to:
avoid, evade, steer clear of, shy away from, keep one's distance from, have nothing to do with; snub, give someone the cold shoulder, ignore, look right through; reject, rebuff, spurn,
informallygive someone the brush-off, freeze out.
You get the idea. If you are on the giving end, you may be disappointed, depressed, hurt, or mad about some real or imagined scenario between you and the person to whom you are now giving the shunning experience. If you are on the receiving end, you may or may not even have known or meant to hurt the person who is now on the offensive.
If you feel you have been shunned, you have a choice. You can be hurt and continue the painful experience or you can forgive and look at your own actions. Did you possibly do something that perhaps may have hurt another? Perhaps you don't even recognize it? It boils down to communication. Although I am a teacher, therapist, and writer, I still am able to work on my communication skills and you can learn to be more joyous, no matter what your age.
As I focus on how I can be a better person - a better Christian - than I am, the focus of imagined or real hurts diminish. This redirection becomes an academic endeavor rather than one of self pity and feelings of sadness and fear.
We all can improve our communication. We can be mindful of others, and, although we may think we said something clearly, we might rephrase, or even (how unique is THIS idea?) maintain silence. Sometimes it is true that silence is golden.
Life is difficult enough without contributing to it. IF you are reading this, please examine your own communication style. Improve it. Ask others for feedback. Try your best to communicate loving, caring, and positive thoughts. When you fail, and you will because you are human, have strategies in place to heal not only the offended person, but yourself as well.
Love is all we need....check out this oldie, but goody, and sing along to the lyrics. What can you do to help change this world?
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