Q. Do you know who I am?
Q. So why have you summoned me?
A. Because I am annoyed.
Q. What about?
A. It has to do with the Prayer of St. Francis.
Q. You find this prayer annoying?
A. Not at all, sir. I only find it annoying that I seem so lame when it comes to applying it.
Q. How so?
A. Well, take the part where he prays “not so much to be understood as to understand.” I feel so misunderstood, it’s very hard for me to get past this frustrating urge to explain myself all the time. But it would be better for everybody if I would instead open up my eyes and see where others are coming from.
Q. So you are annoyed by this personal quirk of yours?
A. Extremely annoyed. And even more so when I see the same trait in a very close family member. In my flesh and blood, there appears to be remarkably similar DNA.
Q. Can you elaborate?
A. Of course! This person reaches the place where whatever anyone else says to her is utterly unimportant. The only things that seem important are what she says to us.
Q. And you see yourself in this unenviable trait?
A. I do. It comes from a feeling of being misunderstood.
Q. So how can you and this dear family member begin to make yourself more understood?
A. By listening more. By seeking to understand. For you see, people don’t care about what may constant explanations say. They only care about the fact that I’m explaining myself. It gets tiresome. It exhausts them. They would rather see me become interested in them, not in proving myself to them. If they see that I am interested in them, they will then therefore become interested in me. Law of karma. What goes around comes around. You reap what you sow. All that good stuff.
Q. How can you begin to change?
A. By listening to her. By not letting myself become exasperated when she constantly tries to explain herself. By looking at her — and seeing in this mirror the Echo of Myself — and realizing that I am not alone.
The Questioner is silent.
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