This morning, I was complaining about her to my husband. This afternoon, in the car, I suddenly had a thought: if the last time I saw her was my last encounter with her ever, would I still have complained? Surprisingly, the answer was no. If I knew that my encounter with her was my last on earth, I think I would have tried to find something about her to appreciate.
So why does it make a difference whether it's the last time I see her or not? It's a simple matter of perspective. If I know I will see her often, I go into the encounter prepared to be irritated (which, by the way, is not only judging her, but subjugating her as well). If I know it's the last time I'll ever see her, there is an awareness of her "otherness" - her uniqueness - and the reminder that she is to be respected and honoured.
I felt remorseful for being so petty and exclusive. If I need to pretend that every time I see her is the last time, I will. I only know that I want to honour her and respect her otherness rather than be irritated because she isn't like me.
"Every man is in some way my superior, in that I can learn from him."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson