The Serra Retreat Center we recently visited made available an instruction sheet with suggested guidelines for how to use the labyrinth for a prayer walk.
One of the instructions described how to handle the situation should you encounter someone else while you are walking the labyrinth or if you should be disturbed by children.
“If someone upsets you, that person is your teacher.”
Those words have been bouncing around in my head ever since we left Serra.
Today Lourene and I were at Heavenly Ham, standing in line to pick up and pay for the turkey sandwiches we had ordered for lunch. The woman ahead of us finished her transaction and headed for her car. The clerk looked right at me and asked, “May I help you, sir?” As I was answering, a woman pushed in front of me and demanded the clerk get her sandwich first.
Thankfully, Lourene spoke some soothing words in anticipation of my not only being baffled but also irritated by the woman’s selfish rudeness. I did not say a word (or make any kind of grunting noises to express my disgust) until we got in the car. Then I proceeded to replay the event.
“She was not even in the line! Did you see how she jumped in front of me? And then she had the nerve to cut her eyes over at me and smirk as the clerk made her sandwich! The nerve of that woman!”
“That woman is our teacher.”
Those words are no longer bouncing around in my head. As Lourene spoke them, it was as though God wrote them on my heart.
That rude woman was indeed my teacher, and I have a lot to learn.