There is a lesson I’m continually learning in life, when faced with opposition, take the high road and I can live without regrets.
At age 19 I took a break from school, dating, music, and volunteered two years as a missionary along the US-Mexico border where I learned Spanish and humility.
The idea of missionary service conjures many positive thoughts, and it was a great experience. It was also a lot of work in human relations as one of the requirements is to always be with another missionary, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In all, I had 22 companions in 24 months. Many times we were in a group of three because many missionaries who became sick in South America would come to Tucson for medical care. I learned a lot dealing with 22 different personalities, upbringings, traditions, and ways of doing things.
The one that stands out and inspired this theme today was a missionary who was waiting for a visa to Brazil and the last place in the world he wanted to be was in Tucson and for some reason our two personalities were like oil and water. At first this annoyed me, but then I thought – someday I’m going to be married and the relationship is going to have difficulties. This is the perfect test lab to work through personality issues.
At one point, it was a daily exercise where he would tell me all of the reasons he didn’t like me. Trivial stuff, like I had learned Spanish better than he had, or I could ride a bike faster – as well as more detailed reasons why my personality really bugged him.
In the past, I would have wanted to take care of things the old fashion way – mano a mano – but instead I would find a calm place inside as he talked and try to decipher what issues were really his to own and what constructive criticism I could take to better myself. In other words, I took control of the situation instead of allowing his fiery darts to wound me.
We were able to work things out over time. We certainly are not pen pals to date, but there was a mutual respect in the end.
That lesson has paid off over the years. In business, at home, in the neighborhood, there are many issues which arise when I can choose to take something personally, or step back and take the high road, feel sorry for someone that they have so much hatred, jealousy, or other destructive behaviors – but realizing I do not have to participate in the pain.
I’m certainly not perfect. Daily I have to repent, relearn, and remember. But taking the high road always brings peace faster and requires less regret.
Have a great weekend! Thanks for reading!