Patience

Living in Community (even a mostly silent one) has great advantages which take time to be assimilated. If it is not too bizarre a comparison, think of Alice crawling through the looking-glass and the strange "persons" she found there.

It happens quickly that one finds out that one might not like Sr. X, and that one has to learn to bear patiently with her — though the challenge of coming to love her may seem so unlikely that it doesn't bear thinking about. Sometimes one is given an accurate outside observation of oneself very hard to accept. But it can take a long, long time to come to see oneself as others might: "oh, my goodness, I am like the Red Queen and her 'off with his head!' remarks. What makes me do that? I don't want to be like that."

Julian, living alone and enclosed, did not have someone to spell things out for her — or we assume that she didn't. But from the people who sought her counsel, she would have had an opportunity to reflect on her own fallibility and the gentleness and compassion she had been shown in regard to it. Like or dislike, approval or disapproval, became such tiny things beside the patient and courteous love she had been shown.

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