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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

From a modern elder...

An (Athonite) elder said:

Once I was on a bus. What a situation! Somebody asked the driver to lower the radio. “We have a priest among us,” he said, for they had noticed me. The driver put the sound higher.

I was saying the Jesus Prayer. The person who had spoken wanted to help me, but I said, “It doesn’t bother me,” for I was thinking: if, God forbid, there were an accident and they brought all the people out of the bus – one having a broken leg, another an injured head, another crying, and perhaps even a little child hurt – how could I endure such a sight? “Thanks be to God,” I said to myself, “Everyone here is well and they can even sing!”

“Thus the noise became the foundation tone for my prayer. They behaved the way they wanted, and I did just fine.

There is no other way but to face all situations with a positive attitude, and to try to put yourself in the other person’s place. Instead so often we try to have our own way, and the world becomes a madhouse. When a person puts himself in another’s place, things fall into order.

Take for example an old woman and her daughter-in-law. The younger woman should try to put herself in the elderly one’s place and say to herself, “How would I want to be treated? When I am an old, drooling woman would I want my grandchildren making fun of me? And my daughter-in-law snapping at me? Would I like that? So how should I behave toward my mother-in-law?”

From An Athonite Gerontikon