best self. better self. what a disaster. wisdom from a nun.

Two weeks ago I commented to a friend that when I come back in my second life, I want to be a nun.  She asked why but the answer was complex .... and has nothing to do with my unbelievably awesome hubby and kids, but much more to do with a striving for excellence, compassion, kindness, near perfection and everything else that seems to come to mind when I see these ladies.  And yes, I speak to nuns regularly in my job. And yes they laugh if I say I strive to be as perfect. 

It took me longer to get my friend to stop laughing than it did to complete my nun explanation.  I do agree that when looking and listening to me, nun is not at the forefront of your mind.  Admit it. 

But yesterday I thought a lot about nuns again, because I spoke to one twice on the phone this week, and having spent time with several nuns on a social level over the last two years, I know to be true the fact that they too are striving .... to be compassionate, to be kind, to be doing the right thing ..... 

Our parish priest, as you know, had the most impact on me the day he spoke to us, a while ago already, about always trying to be "our best selves" or "our better selves".  Now let me put it out there ..... I appear to really suck at this.  I actually thought I was spending 75 percent of my life making progress at "better self" and 25 % failing dismally.  I do not know how my fellow parishioners feel they are doing - but I seem to always have either one or both my feet in it.  

I have a nun on email .... who is not a local one, which makes it better for frank discussion. I have asked myself repeatedly this week if it so hard for them as well.  She asked me what "them" encompasses.  "People like you, who God chooses for their job", I told her.  It elicited quite a chuckle over the email lines.  "Did God not choose you for your job", she asked me.  That part was easy - anyone who knows even a tiny bit about me knows that the one thing I love ridiculously much in life is my job - to have worked with people when they are getting married, having babies, saying goodbye to loved ones, placing Ashes, I get to touch their lives in a tiny tiny tiny way, but I have come to really love being with the parishioners and they shower me with love in return.  But this was not my question.  My question was is it much easier for her to be her "better self" all the time.  Is it just lay people who fail. 

Her answer came in capitals - NO.  "We make mistakes, many of them, we speak too fast, we judge too quickly, we apologise too slowly, we pray too much, we pray too little" ... it was a long list.  "Anyone who deems themselves as never failing certainly has quite the opinion of themselves" .... I wish I could let you hear what must be the accent she speaks with. 

She was extraordinarily real.  It was like speaking to Lifeline except that no-one knew me. 

But she heard me.  She understood that I want to be understood.  That I am not going to get it right every day.  At least I am prepared to admit that.  Many won't.  I will not always pray enough, say the right words all the time, judge slowly, speak the words people want to hear. But she says, that makes me human.  She also asked me to write down the names of 3 people who seem to get it right most of the time.  "Not names of people who they themselves think are above this theory, names of people that YOU think are getting it right". The 3 names obviously meant nothing to her since she did not know any of them, but an interesting analysis followed.  That is between her and me.  

But I will try.  Every day.   Because I do not want to have to start every 2nd sentence with Sorry. 

Right at the end of our chat I realised that some will always sit in judgement.  And others will always be judged.   And very often the latter, is the one trying harder. 

She chuckled, "well then, do you not think that the judged is more successful at trying to be their best self than the person sitting in judgement?" - I love email - you always get the wording right when you repeat it. 

Wisdom in a habit.  

I am going to aim for 40 % success in better self this week.  Swift to bless, slow to chide. Which means I should come in around 28.2%

When you are mad at someone - write their good traits in column A and their bad traits in column B ...... A usually far exceeds B.  But then, before you go further, how about writing down your good traits in column A and bad traits in column B .... still being your best self?

Can you see me chuckling? Trying to work out who can honestly say yes. 

What are you going to strive for this week? 




till soon 
c'est la vie 

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