Is there anything that really riles you up? I get pretty intense about a few things but there is one that I am absolutely irrational about. It doesn't even make sense to get mad about but I do! I think everyone has these things and I'm sure there is something that I do that makes other people, particularly the nuns, crazy!
You see, there is a sister in my house who is older and she is lovely - all the time. She is a joy to live with. She does a harmless and meaningless thing that drives me insane though. It's ridiculous but I'm going to tell you anyway... after she eats - she puts paper napkins on all the place mats around the table. I know - how could that make me angry?
The thing is I'm 20 -something years old. I live in a world where everything is efficient. It all serves a purpose and it is done in a methodical and practical way. I've never lived any other way. Anything less can be infuriating! It just so happens that the two rooms in our house where we eat are both my charges. So, these napkins are everywhere and before I clean the table I have to pick up all these napkins. Sometimes they are even underneath the place mats. It makes me wild... not with her... but just with the impracticality of the whole thing.
You would think, "oh, its a small thing... get over it." And that is what I say to myself most of the time too... but it still bothers me. Everyday when I clean it I cringe because it bothers me. I am so tempted to throw all the napkins away or not put them back or tell her to stop putting them everywhere... However, through the grace of God I am able to resist that temptation and in extreme discomfort, I put those carefully placed napkins right back where they were before I cleaned.
Community life is made of things like this. I know that there are things that people do for me that are nice that I don't even know about or that they don't think I know about. One time when I was sick, my superior cleaned my charge... she didn't tell me but I felt terrible about it. She was taking care of me. Sometimes I'll go down to the laundry and find my wash folded for me. The sister who folded my laundry might have been thinking, "She can't just come get her own laundry! Why isn't she folding this laundry!?" We all lose our patience with one another but the struggle is to treat one another with charity and grace through it all. It's a sure way to the heart of Jesus to love one another in close quarters and in a radical way.