Deciding to reach out to one’s neighbour, putting aside one’s convictions, breaking down the walls of pride, means finding a way to the other’s heart and, on this journey, learning to recognise one’s own heart: entering into communion and rebuilding.
A classmate often used to tease me, always showing me in a bad light in front of others, especially girls, and it started to annoy me. I tried to tell him but he excused himself telling me there was no malice in what he was doing. Later I talked about it at home and what surprised me was that my parents did not seem to be on my side: “Have you tried to respect him more, instead of just defending yourself?” What was I to do? One day I realised my classmate was struggling with some maths homework, a subject I am quite good at. I beckoned to him then gave him what he needed to go ahead. During the break he came up to me almost in tears and gave me half his snack. I don’t know if I really understood what my parents were trying to tell me, but every trace of resentment I had towards him disappeared. The girl he was in love with approached us and, aware of the past tensions perhaps, commented: “It’s nice to see you two getting on so well”. I realised that my parents, wanting the best for me, were helping me to live with the greatest dignity. I thanked them for their advice.
(R.G. – Italy)
The first step
In Colombia, the father is the head of the family but recently, since our daughter started studying at high school, my relationship with her had become difficult and there have been a number of ‘tantrums’. She has a strong character, like me, but I am the adult and have a certain experience of life. Several evenings ago I saw her engrossed in the computer and it was already late. When I pointed out to her that it was time to go to bed, she said she had to finish a job. What shocked me was she did not take me seriously. In fact, for the first time ever, she even raised her voice. So I unplugged the modem so that she couldn’t surf anymore. After that she stopped speaking to me. The atmosphere in the house was really tense for days, and the air felt unbreathable. At a certain point I began to have second thoughts about my attitude and asked God for the strength to be calmer, less proud, able to take the first step so as to build a new relationship with her. Noticing my efforts, she herself came up to me one day and apologised.
(G.G. – Colombia)
Edited by Maria Grazia Berretta
(taken from Il Vangelo del Giorno, Città Nuova, year VIII, no.2, July-August 2022)