my wife and i are busily packing for our move. we've begun the process of buying a home in our new town and must be out of our present home in about three weeks. one of my wife's sisters who lives in the town where we're moving came to help us pack, and her two other sisters decided to drive up to help us. one of them is controlling and is very free with her advice as to how we should live our lives. she had not been in the door thirty minutes before i had to stifle the temptation to tell her to mind her own business three times.
when this sister is around, my wife is very ill at ease. i soon realized that her fear that i would blurt out something in anger at her sister's meddling and my wife's desire to do the same was causing my wife a great deal of stress, and i resolved to shrug off her sister's unwelcome advice so as not to compound my wife's trepidations. we made it through the evening without any angry outbursts, and the tension headache my wife was suffering from had subsided by bedtime. as i thought about the grief this sister causes those around her, i tried to think about how she must be suffering. she pushes all those who want to be close to her away by her insistence that all things be done her way, and she has no friends. her only daughter cannot get along with her, and her grandchildren spend time with her reluctantly. in her loneliness she reaches out in the one way she believes that she can, by sharing her life experience to tell others how to conduct their lives, and in the process further alienates those she is trying to help.
over the course of that first evening with her, i resolved to look for ways to have compassion for her and to recognize that her bossiness was a symptom of her deep suffering. it costs me nothing to refrain from angry rebuttals to her unwanted advice and benefits all those around us when i hold my tongue. today, my goal is to look for all the good in her that i can and to remember the source of her need to help in the only way she is able, unwelcome though that help may be. i hope to remember that she didn't have to travel 250 miles to help us pack and go another 250 miles to deliver as many of our belongings as her vehicle can carry to our new home. i hope to respond in gratitude for her generous help and to shrug off the comments that so often cause me to become angry.
may each of us find ways to show compassion for those who cause us suffering. may we be grateful for the opportunity to live more skillfully that they afford us. may we love the most unlovely. shalom.