What about the difficult days? The tough situations. Maybe, some of these are your inner thoughts:
“Can you believe what they said?!?”
“They were so rude!”
“They don’t want to follow directions, and now their actions are causing more work for us!”
God is there in those moments too, and I believe it’s in those moments that He wants to work His love and grace. The tough part is letting go. Letting go of our need to be right, our need to be in control, or of frustration, anger, or fear.
The following exercise is one way that I link even the most difficult situations to God: difficult volunteer situations, hard days when you have little to give, etc. It is similar to the Sacrament of the Now, but a bit different (intentionally asking for the graces of empathy, compassion, and love). It has been helpful for me, maybe it will be helpful to you too:
- Stop: Whether I am sweeping, mopping, or escaping from the crowds for just a moment, I withdraw for a few minutes. For you, it may be just resting your eyes, taking a moment to walk outside, etc.
- Breathe: I take a few deliberate breaths. Breathe in for 10 seconds and then out of 10 seconds. I’ve found that doing that helps to ‘reset’ from frustration to composure in the more upsetting situations.
- Prayer of Surrender: Simply surrendering to the Lord is key in the sacramentalizing of the moment. Recognizing that “He is here,” and respond to that realization by saying, “I give every iota to Him as best I can.” This prayer is a prayer of authenticity. It is: “I need You” and “I can’t do it without You,” as well as “I surrender everything I have to You.”
- Prayer of Compassion: Say a quick prayer of compassion. Empathy is imagining yourself in someone else’s situation, and compassion is the intentionality of having that experience manifest in action, to somehow alleviate the suffering. Reconnecting with those that I’m serving, whether it is a volunteer or the person who is being served, praying: “Lord, help me to be Your healing to the broken, and Your hope to the hopeless. Fill me with your love…”