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This week, I was planning on simply sharing a video that I found an encouragement. Then I received the message below from Glenn Robitaille. It is one of his regular e-mails to the Waypoint community which was very helpful in that setting and a helpful reminder for me. I hope and pray both Glenn's words and the video below are an encouragement to you.

Just a reminder that you are invited to contribute a tribute to your mother for our service on Sunday. You may do this via video or story & picture. See the details at the bottom of this message.


"I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humour, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a person is humanized or de-humanized."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1775

 
It can indeed be frightening to realize that we are responsible for the way we exist in the world. The present milieu may have arrived unsolicited but the experience of being in it is personal. Everyone must find the way through the more challenging moments of life, whatever those challenges may be.
 
Several people have shared how difficult it is to be an extrovert in these extraordinary times.  Those who prefer a few friends and limited socialization to the press of the Butter Tart Festival could be “rolling with the punches” better, as introverts are mostly energized by the actual work they are doing rather than by the people with whom they are working. Extroverts are the exact opposite. Introverted extroverts like me also exist—people who need to be alone when they need to be alone and with people when they need to be around people—and that presents its own challenges; but extroverts who are accustomed to recharging through social engagement are being particularly hard hit right now, and that must be recognized and embraced. If you are an introvert hunkering down with an extrovert, you are wise to keep in mind that the challenges are different.
 
Extroverts living with an introvert must also recognize that it may be difficult for your loved one to find solitude, and that withdrawing to read a good book is not a rejection of you.
 
What moves von Goethe’s observation from a witty and pithy quote to something useful is to apply it directly to realities like this.  Whether at home or in the workplace, difficult people are generally people who function differently than us.  I wonder how many of the “yahoos” (as Doug Ford described them) who packed the yard in front of Queen’s Park are extroverts who have reached the end of their tether. I personally disagree with the point they are making, but that does not give me any high ground in the discussion.  I disagree because the present choices are more comfortable for me.
 
Studies have shown that temperament is hard-wired and can be tracked within the first six months of life, so the basics of my temperament are what they are; but I am still the decisive element.  I alone must determine how I will relate to those around me and be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration.  It takes extra effort in stressful times to find “pennies from heaven” in the unrelenting rain, but that is our opportunity.  Compassion increases with understanding, and understanding increases when we practice empathy and healthy curiosity.
 
I am grateful to those who are putting up with me these days.  I hope I can remain generous in my relationship with others.
 
With gratitude,
Glenn
 
Glenn A. Robitaille, DMin, MDiv, RP, MPCC
Director, Ethics and Spiritual Care
Director, Mindability—North Simcoe/Muskoka (A)
Staff Co-Chair:  Ethics Committee
Chair:  Research Ethics Board
Co-Lead:  Traumatic Incident Support Team (TIST)