Editor’s note – today’s post was written by Lori Odhner and published as a Marriage Moat. Lori writes these messages and sends them as weekday emails as well as posting them on social media. Throughout the year ahead we’ll be sharing a few of our favorites.
Our first home had a kitchen with a capacity for one. I mean if we sucked in our stomachs and kept our arms at our sides I could be at the sink washing dishes while John was cooking pancakes. But forget any notion of opening the fridge.
Our current home has a kitchen that is roomy enough for conversations, with a couple of kids on stools, John at the stove, and me chopping vegetables on the butcher block. Our master bathroom, however, is the same square footage as that kitchen. There is a sink, and a toilet, but no space for passing each other on the way to the shower. If Ben decides to use ours to brush his teeth, and I want to brush mine, I wait until he is done rather than squeeze past him. The same is true of the bathroom on the third floor, though the girls found a way to get ready for school in a hurry. Now they live in different countries.
In an effort to scale back my longstanding habit of criticizing, I notice that prayer helps. What I mean is that my mind seems to have a capacity for one. If I am holding negative thoughts, there is no space for kindness. But conversely if I offer up a prayer for someone, I cannot at the same time harbor ill will. When the latter comes knocking I try to stall it by offering a prayer instead. It seems that the complaint gets tired of waiting for a turn and goes away.
Recently a friend suggested that the same is true of curiosity and judgment. If she finds herself trapped by strong opinions about someone else’s choices, she opens the door to being curious. Which forces contempt to, I guess, jump out the window. Maybe there will come a time when I live in an entirely different country than the one where I am queen.
“Hatred and charity cannot exist together.”
New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrines 106