This month, though it is a month of gratitude, I have struggled with the vice of envy. This is something I struggle with daily, actually. But I was really trying to focus on gratitude this month, especially reading all of the “30 Days of Gratitude” posts on facebook. Uh…yea, I didn’t do it that way
Sometimes, when you practice virtue, you find many opportunities to practice it in any given situation. I have found myself challenged and sometimes reverting to different vices in my failure to fully develop the virtue of gratitude. The green head of envy has appeared in ways I never imagined. In my jealousy, especially in my marital relationship, I feel entitled to spew my opinion and challenge to my spouse, when I really do need to stop and think before reacting.
I was challenged this week by a very holy man to try a new tactic: Say nothing. Wait on the Lord. Let the Lord control the outcomes. Let the Lord work on the other’s heart. Say nothing.
Anyone who knows me understands that this is quite difficult for me. As a higher education administrator with a fancy title, I am not accustomed to sitting back and saying nothing! And, I bring that same strategy home. I know what you are thinking…Mary…don’t do it. Don’t do it!
Too late…But I’m trying!
I was thinking of this advice of saying nothing. I thought of the work place. There are many times where this advice really could have saved me time, effort, energy, and reputation. In a world where the winner is sometimes the one with the last word, the work world is the stink tank of this type of behavior.
But what if we listened more in the work place? What if we especially listened for the whispering nudge of the Lord? What if we wait on the Lord? What if we let Jesus fight the battle?
What if we took the following Holy Scripture to heart:
“Show me, O Lord, your way, and lead me on a level path, because of my adversaries. Give me not up to the wishes of my foes; for false witnesses have risen up against me, and such as breathe out violence. I believe that I shall see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27: 11-14)
This verse speaks of courage and bravery – yet calls for patience and waiting on the Lord. Some would call that weak…but I trust the Lord, and know His Word is true and abiding, and I know this is a courageous and fruitful thing to do…wait on the Lord.
What would this look like in the work world? I offer three scenarios that are popular in my line of work:
1. Instead of debating colleagues, what if you held your side of the argument, until you hear all of the options? What if you decided to give the other options a try? What if you gave your all to the success of the “other’s idea?”
2. When you feel injured by another at work, what if you first seek to understand, rather than to be understood? What if you look deeply into the situation, and ask the tough questions of your colleagues/peers/supervisor, but really listen for understanding as they answer?
3. What if when you are having a bad day, you keep it to yourself? What if you focus on what you have at work, rather than what you don’t have? What if you thank God throughout the day for your work, no matter how bad the day is for you?
People are constantly posting on social media their thoughts and feelings about a variety of things. I saw a posting today in which an adult carried on an adolescent conversation about her child’s bus driver. What if you said nothing on facebook? What if you acted appropriately by reporting problems, perhaps seeking to understand first, and then leave the rest to God?
Some may say, “Well, that’s great Mary, but I take action!” I’m suggesting action in the least intrusive way possible, saying little, saying nothing, saying only that which would solve and bring peace, and then wait on the Lord for outcome, giving Him thanks in all things.
Maybe there would be much fewer inappropriate facebook posts by adults who speak first, then think later.
Maybe the work place would be more peaceful, and virtues such as gratitude and wisdom would flourish.
Pope Francis, on the Solemnity of All Saints Day, reminds us that the saints in the history of the Church waited on the Lord, and their examples are ones to be emulated:
“What do the Saints tell us today? They tell us to trust the Lord because He does not disappoint! The Lord is our friend; He never disappoints! With their witness, they encourage us not to be afraid of going against the tide or of being misunderstood and ridiculed when we speak about Him and the Gospel.”
I am challenging myself to say less, especially when I see the vices bubbling to the surface. I want to develop virtue, and I’m trying to say less, in order to hear more – especially from Our Lord.
Peace of Christ to you and yours!