I received this poem in a Christmas letter from a high school friend in 2005. I’ve kept it all these years. When I was teaching, it was in my classroom. Now, it’s a wall hanging in my counseling office. It makes me strong.
These truths are essential for the holidays as you gather with people who put you down, question your life decisions, give you that “You’ll never change” look or jabbing comment. The words provide strength as you contemplate making changes or reaching goals in the New Year.
I appreciate Mother Teresa’s wisdom because it’s REAL. It’s not a Pinterest photo with a cute cat giving warm fuzzies. It gives the real deal how-to’s for dealing with adversities in life, for dealing with people and situations I encounter every day.
- Those people who are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered? Forgive them, anyway. Thank you for acknowledging that forgiveness does not mean their nature changes. It just makes me easier to relate to them.
- If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Been there, done that. Why do people have to gossip and makes assumptions? Be kind anyway.
- If you are frank and honest, people may cheat you. Or they might hold grudges, get back at you, lie to you, or stonewall you. Be frank and honest anyway.
- What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight. Build it anyway. Don’t be afraid to take chances. When we step out in risk, God has the opportunity to work. Being comfortable isn’t always godly.
- If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous. Why is that? Why can’t we truly be happy for one another? Be happy anyway.
- The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow. Do good anyway. The most significant moments in heaven and on earth are the simplest moments in living. Build up treasures in heaven.
- Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. We’ve always told our kids as long as they’ve done their best, that’s all that matters. Give the best you have anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it’s between you and God.
It was never between you and them, anyway.
Amen. May these words give you courage and balance this holiday season as you interact with others who are the “they’s” and the “them’s.” You’ll probably be in gatherings where people will expect more from you, be jealous of you, be unreasonable, may accuse you or forget the kindness you’ve shown in the last year.
Take a deep breath, remember whose you are, and whom you answer to. Smile, ask how they’ve been, and listen.
You’re building treasures in heaven.
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you; compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as your Father forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Colossians 3:12-14, The Message.