Sometimes the holidays throw us together with people who we find hard to like, much less love. What to do?
My wise and compassionate friend Patty Wedel runs Joseph’s
House, a hospice for formerly homeless men and women with AIDS and other terminal illnesses. Many of her guests have a history of drug addiction, mental illness, or prison. Relating to them is not always easy. I want to share some words from Patty’s Christmas letter about meeting others where they are.
“At Joseph’s House we sometimes say to each other, ‘Don’t wait!’ When we say this we mean don’t wait for a situation or a person to be otherwise in order to bring ourselves fully to it or to them with loving kindness. This reminder helps so much! In an ordinary, everyday way it helps us gradually to learn to love as is, with no conditions. We bring our whole self to this person, this situation – just as it is, as we are – and it’s enough. It’s good. ”
Famed psychotherapist Carl Rogers said “Total attention feels like love.” Simple presence, deep listening transforms both speaker and listener. This holiday season “Don’t wait.”