What can we learn from our relationships?
You might have heard the saying "what goes around, comes around." Or, in coaching circles, people say "You get (back) what you put out in to the world." Given that I received so much love and support after my father passing away, I realized I must have been exuding a lot of love and hope.
I know you might be thinking I'm giving myself too much credit. And, if you have nice friends and a solid family, anyone would receive positive sentiments during a difficult time in life. BUT, it wasn't all hearts and roses. In fact, the priest who was supposed to reside over my dad's funeral gave me the most unexpected blow just hours after my Dad left us.
What if we're in the middle of a difficult time in our lives?
I was at one of the lowest points in my life and trying to be there for my mom when my family and I were talking to the priest about what prayers and songs we wanted for my Dad's funeral. I have a hearing problem so I didn't catch all of the priest's suggestions.
When I asked him to speak up, he began to tease me about my hearing. At first, I didn't think he was teasing because I thought who would tease someone about hearing loss (or blindness, or any disability)? And, after I realized what he was doing, I was in disbelief and then shock. Sure, tease me any other time and I might be annoyed. But, at this moment, I was outraged! (By the way, my hearing genes are from my Dad:-)
So, as we continued the conversation, I was trying to suppress my instincts to put him in his place. The conversation went on...my brother was sharing some stories about how my dad was a fighter. At 22 years old, my Dad came from Sicily, learned English, became an entrepreneur, and created the life he desired for his family. All I kept thinking was how could that priest be so insensitive with me?!
Can we learn something even in our most challenging relationships?
Being the good coach that I am;-), I decided to focus on the present moment and to be there for my family versus taking the priest down (kidding, of course). Later, I began writing my Dad's eulogy. And, it just flowed out of me. Yet, I continued to think about the priest's behavior and how my dad would have told the priest how he felt about it. That is when it hit me. My Dad's "driven attitude" was coming through me...as it often did. I allowed myself to feel agitated and then I did a little self coaching. I know that I get back what I put out in the world. So, I asked myself "where or with whom am I being insensitive?" Hmmm...I had a few people in mind I won't share in case they're reading this now:-) But, I kept thinking.
This is what I learned about myself...
One person I could have actually been insensitive toward was ME. Had I been sensitive to my needs the last few days before my Dad passed away? Not really. So, thank you priest, for helping me realize I needed to take care of myself. And, thank you for continuing to tease me so that I could clearly receive the message I needed to hear (pun intended).
Now, I was ready to hear a deeper message.
Beyond this person being a mirror for me to learn something about myself and my situation, he helped me remember one of the most important points I needed to include in my Dad's eulogy...that he was a fighter. (Funny, how I didn't "hear" this message when my brother spoke about it.) But, my dad fought hard for his life and he fought hard at the end of it, too. This sentiment became the opening sentence of my eulogy. So, thank you priest for giving me the opportunity to remember who my dad was...he would have been disappointed if I forgot to say he was a fighter.
Finally, I received the gift of acceptance for myself and for another.
In the remainder of the eulogy, I went on to express how my Dad loved so hard, too. You can't know or have a quality without its opposing side. Obviously, I'm a sensitive person. And, I can be insensitive at times, too. All qualities within us have an existing opposing quality. We must remember this concept to be more accepting of ourselves and others.
Ultimately, this whole process softened me toward the priest and helped me express my Dad's essence which I hope to do for as long as I'm on this earth. I was so grateful to experience compassion for the priest and myself. The funeral ended up being beautiful...the priest was amazing, the songs were uplifting, and the prayers were heavenly.
What about you?