Learning to live with my neighbor is something I have been praying about and working on lately.
Thomas Merton’s comments in Bridges to Contemplative Living are very beneficial when he writes, “How does man attain to a real union of love with his neighbor? . . . . by a realistic collaboration in the work of daily living in the world of hard facts in which man must work in order to eat” (p. 40). Having a “union of love” with my neighbor is something I honestly do not have with most people.
Even though I a respectful of others thoughts and opinions and I get along with others well, I often have trouble connecting deeply with people or I feel that I am different. This has led me to withdraw and feel hurt when I do open myself up for others in an attempt to build friendships only to have the other person not follow through on what they say or promise.
However, I find Kempis’ words encouraging when he tells us in The Imitation of Christ, “The man who is neither eager to please men nor afraid to displease them is the one who will enjoy great peace” (p. 119).
Perhaps part of my lack of feeling close to others (or the feeling of being very different) is because I am trying to please them or not please them?
This is something I will dedicate more time and attention to in my prayers going forward.
Question: How do you learn to live with your neighbor?