from 8am parishioner Sandra Kramer

He did not care if she was heartless, vicious and vulgar, stupid and grasping, he loved her.”
— W. Somerset Maugham, “Of Human Bondage

Over the past few years I have had several lessons in dealing with difficult people.  From kids to coworkers, drivers to divas – there’s always someone who can twist us up inside. 
I like to think I have come a long way from my days of plotting political revenge; but, I still have it in me.  I now know, however, that bottling up anger is so unhealthy for me, that it is akin to taking poison and hoping the other person will die.  My good intentions couldn’t fix me, but God has helped me.
In learning about what motivated my bad behavior, I had an epiphany about other people as well. People who annoy me the most are the very same people who teach me love and tolerance.  This is a space of miracles.
I recently had a roommate who was clean, cool, and generally good to know.  But, all of the sudden, this nice person started having awful, angry days.  It wasn’t just me, he was raging at everyone.  At first I was defensive.  Then I started listening.  What I heard was pain, fear, and suffering.  My friend needed medical care and he was afraid.
I thought about all of the times that I attacked other people.  Inevitably my negativity was a manifestation of sickness or emotional misery.  Wouldn’t I want others to overlook my actions and come to my aid?  So, I was kind and forgiving.  I started praying for my roommate as I would for any sick person.  For months I prayed every day, sometimes many times a day for God to help my soul sick friend.  At my friend’s most emotionally vicious, I cried for him, surrendered him into God’s hands, waited, and prayed some more.
Finally, left with only a handful of coins and a collection of burned bridges, my friend called on a cell phone that was out of minutes.  “Please help me,” he said.  God granted me the gift of escorting my friend to the medical team that was waiting for him.
People will be rude, annoying, and insulting.  You will feel like you just “Do not have to put up with this!”  Well, there’s a prayer for that.  “God, please help them and help me to be kind to a person who is having a bad time.”  And wait for the miracle.