from 6-14-07 in my paper journal.

“i’ve been thinking a lot about peace a lot lately, & how important it is, & how i think the trick is that we keep dehumanizing each other. we keep attributing such vicious things to each other. & yes, we keep hurting each other, & yes, somethinges it’s on purpose, & yes, we are frequently dumb, but… that’s because we’re human, not because we (anyone, our enemy, our friend) is inherently evil. but so much we keep getting pissed off, & only listening to that anger, & not letting it cool, & screaming at each other. but no one listens to screaming. no one can. “yes, you are making a reasonable point there.” no. instead, it’s ow, ow, ow, you’re hurting my ears and my heart, SHUT UP! etc. ad nauseum.”

… ironically, i’ve been tremendously irritable about complete strangers lately. “STOP HAVING THAT FACE!” is what’s been going on in the background of many of my customer service interactions lately. oh, my high-falutin’ ideals.

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  1. 1.

    I think that dealing patiently with other humans in daily life–whether in customer service or in my high school English class–is the tough stuff. It’s almost easier to stay calm and receptive when it’s for short bursts of predefined stressful moments. If I _know_ I’m going to be tested, I usually do all right. *laughing*

    But on a day when the air is hot and humid, and none of the kids in my classes have done the reading, that one kid in the back row keeps sneering at me, and the intercom keeps interrupting what little momentum I can get going… those are the days when it’s hard to stay “Quakerly” moment to moment.

    One of the ways I can tell I’m getting somewhere in my spiritual journey is that I fly off the handle less than I used to on those ordinary and annoying days. Not never… but less. There’s been something about the discipline of listening spirituality, week after week, for me… and also the experience of being listened to–_really_ listened to–by Quakers, that has been very, very helpful.

    Sometimes I joke that there are two kinds of Quakers–those who do it naturally, and those who need it desperately. Maybe, in fact, there’s only one. But I know that I’m one who needs it desperately!

    Comment by Cat Chapin-Bishop — June 20, 2007 @ 7:16 am

    well, it’s funny because usually i’m superfriendly with customer service. i love meeting all the people that come in and talking about books with them and stuff. usually there’s a max of 1 person a week that just pushes all of my buttons for reasons i can’t explain. but when i wrote this, i was getting really annoyed at about 95% of the customers for many days. i didn’t like it! and i’m still not totally sure why it was going on. and it was really ironic, considering my ideal ideas of peace and love, which were so strong when i was absolutely alone.

    Comment by cublet — July 1, 2007 @ 5:40 pm

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