George Herbert: "The Church-porch"
Day 27: Evening
|Calmnesse is great advantage: he that lets
Another chafe, may warm him at his fire,
Mark all his wandrings, and enjoy his frets;
As cunning fencers suffer heat to tire.
Truth dwels not in the clouds: the bow that's there
Doth often aim at, never hit the sphere.
Calmness is a great advantage. He that lets another heat
up, may warm him at his fire, mark all his wanderings and enjoy his worries;
as cunning fencers endure exertion to tire their opponents. Truth does not
dwell in the clouds [abstractly]; the bow that is there often aims at, but
never hits the target.
Learn to wait with quietness. Before you can minister to another, he/she must get the anger, concern, hurt, hatred and worry out of his system. Be patient, and let the fire burn down. Endure his heat until you can warm him with your kindness. Listen to what concerns him. Your patience brings out the cause of the temper. If you interrupt his explanation you may not find a basis for a good understanding. If you impose your own concerns upon his, you may apply the wrong cure to another problem. You can not help the speaker if you don't know what you are doing. As a doctor listens to the complaints and recognizes the symptoms so you, too, compile the causes of his condition. After he has used up his emotion, your patience may incline him to listen to your suggestions.
Just administering some catch phrase, fad remedy or even a Bible quote may not reach the injury if it is not the root cause. Truth does not live abstractly, in the clouds. If it truly exists, it lives with us, works with and directs us. An ideal Truth may aim at a problem, but it often misses the mark. Herbert says "never hit the sphere." It is for us to make truth real and useful to everyone we deal with. And, if we can, make Truth kind and help Truth heal.
© 1997 J. R. Arner
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