On the door of my kitchen, on a yellowed sheet of A4, the following words are attached:
Did I win the day or lose?
Was it well or badly spent?
Have I left a trail of kindness?
Or a scar of dissatisfaction?
I found these anonymous words during one of my late-night social media searches. I am a magical collector of all sorts of sayings, mantras, affirmations and epigrams, all of which are aimed at reminding me to do my best; to be a person at peace with himself, others and the world around him. It is kept in my heart.
Poet Philip Larkin reminds us that we live in all our days. It is the shape of those days, the shape we make of them, that defines everything else around us.
When I take my grumpiness, late night, frustration, or momentary misanthropy out on someone else, I shape what happens not only to me, but to everyone around me. I create the climate.
Teachers often talk about classroom climate. This climate – and its change – can be caused by the teacher’s personal atmosphere. This, combined with the unique microclimate of each student in the classroom, can create a fair and kind view or a changeable and moody one. The same goes for any workplace. Each of us can change the climate by our mood, disposition or attitude towards it.
War or peace begins in our hearts. It is not good to preach peace and good will to all when we continue to bear grudges and grievances, the sharp shards of envy, the vile delight of gloating, the petty victory over a colleague, the injustice we let go because we did not speak up. We do not bring peace unless we have forgiven others. We do not carry peace if we have not forgiven ourselves. We don’t have peace if we haven’t asked God for forgiveness.
Each of us can change the climate by our mood, disposition or attitude towards it.
At Mass every week we are reminded to walk in peace to love and serve the Lord. This calmness is not just to feel good for a few hours and then resume behavior that is aggressive, frustrating or humiliating to others.