Shuffling Our Way to Peace
I am one of those people who shuffle their feet. Not sure when it started but it’s one of those things I don’t usually notice until someone points it out to me. When I worked on a staff in Iowa the dress code was very casual. T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops were the norm when it was warm enough (which wasn’t nearly as often as I’d liked!) and flip flops, along with bedroom shoes and sandals are prime shuffling footwear.
One warm summer afternoon I was busy going from one office to another, making copies, chatting with co-workers and apparently my feet dragging had finally driven one of the staff secretaries mad. Exasperated, she said in a frustrated, loud tone; “PLEASE STOP SHUFFLING YOUR FEET!” I stopped immediately and meekly responded; “Sorry.” and retreated to my office. For the rest of the day and my time in that office in Iowa I was keenly aware of picking up my feet and not making any more noise than necessary when walking.
This morning, getting ready for work, I heard myself shuffling around in my house slippers. I smiled while thinking about the story above. The woman I had driven nuts with sliding my shoes wasn’t mean or rude, just irritated by a habit she found extra annoying. So, I tried not to do it around her. There was no offence taken, no strained relationships, it wasn’t a real burden not to shuffle when I was in her presence.
We live in an easily insulted, aggrieved and angry world. People are quick to let others know when someone has wounded their personal preferences, religious beliefs, political leanings or a host of other highly sensitive areas.
Wisdom teaches us to let go of our grudges, negative emotions and feelings quickly. The more fragile our egos, the more we demand our rights and declare our dislike for others the less we are able to forgive, forget and love those who are different.
A contented life is not based on the world meeting our preferences and expectations but on our willingness to release our sense of entitlement, self-importance and egoism.
“Let your love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in passion, be steadfast in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Letter to the Romans, Saint Paul