Daily Step – Assuming Good Will and My Word of the Year

I chose my word perspective (or it chose me) way before I knew I would need it so much already this year.

It’s the word now that pops into my head every morning when I wake up reminding me to feel grateful. It’s the word that nudges me to try and be patient with my children in the mornings. It’s the word that knocks me over the head when I jump straight to the worst case scenario of every pending situation. It’s also the word that reminds me to think about and pray for my friends and acquaintances that are going through some incredibly awful stuff right now. We are all going through awful stuff, but perspective reminds me to look outward instead of always inward at my own “stuff”.

It’s also the word that challenges me daily with the question “Is this who you want to be?”

It’s a word that also reminds me about what Ignatius taught his retreat directors – to assume good will of the other. I’m finding this phrase “assume good will” difficult right now. I had to go back and see that Ignatius in fact didn’t mean that his retreat directors had to ignore things that their retreatant said that were wrong or not call out such inconsistencies. Instead, he meant that the retreat director was to explore with the directee why they believed what they did. And when there were two ways to interpret what the retreatant was saying, one bad and one good, the Director should assume good intent.

This morning my prayer is that we start off the day with our colleagues, our friends, our family members aware of the perspectives we bring to the table. Let us look outward as much if not more than we look inward today. 

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” – Thomas Merton

(for more on my word of the year, check out my latest dotmagis post here)

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