I Wanted People to Hate Her- The rest of the story

I had the opportunity to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Catania, Italy. When you serve a mission for the Mormon Church, you are assigned into groups of two or a companionship. Some companions fit you perfectly, while many others do not. Twenty-four hours a day with someone - anywhere from 3-6 months and sometimes longer - can get very trying. However, learning to get along with someone comes in handy once you marry. Learning to become more humble comes in handy always.

I was given one particular companion who was very different than me. Although I absolutely respected her drive, her testimony of Jesus Christ and her love for the Italian people, beyond that we didn't have much in common. After a few short weeks I found myself wishing one of us would get transferred to another area and therefore a new companion. 

It gets lonely on the mission. Having the only other person you can talk to be someone that you don't really get along with, compounds that feeling immensely. As a 21-year old girl, I felt it acutely. I later realized that she did as well.

My companion would often make calls at night to one of her previous companions. They would talk in Italian and since I didn’t yet know the language well enough to understand, I didn’t know I was often the topic of conversation, more specifically how difficult I was to live with.

Frankly, at that time I am not sure that I would have cared. I was exhausted each night from walking many miles all day long in the heat, home-sickness and rejection. I was battling my own things and didn’t much care what she thought of me. After all I wasn’t there to make friends; I was there to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I was finally transferred after three months.

My new companion happened to be the companion of the girl that my companion called nightly to complain about me. It became very evident, very quickly that my new companion had already formed a not-so-great opinion of me. After three days of me trying to be-friend her, she broke down one night. “OK you are way different that I imagined you were. I was terrified after all I heard about you, to get you as a companion. I’m so sorry.”

I was shocked to say the least, but grateful that she had told me. She and I ended up great friends. However during the midst of that time, something else began to happen to me; anger.

How dare that girl say all of those things about me that were un-true. How dare she spread rumors about me. My name would now be tainted with each new companion before I even had a chance to show them who I was. This anger continued to build in me and I found myself thinking about it constantly and then talking about it constantly. It finally got to the point where one night I turned to my new companion; who by now was very aware of my feelings. “I should warn all the other girls about her.” I said hatefully.

I will never forget the powerful lesson I was taught in that moment by a dear and wise friend.

Her brow furrowed in sadness as she looked at me. “Oh, Kate. You don’t want people to hate her do you?”

Instantly I was filled with shame. I could see in that moment who I was becoming. How ironic it was that I had thought I was there to teach about Jesus Christ, when I was acting in a way completely contrary to Him. Even more alarming, I realized the answer to her question was, “Yes.” I wanted to win. I wanted to be more liked. I wanted people to hate her and like me.

Perhaps one of the most sobering moments in my life was finding out I wasn’t as humble, Christian, kind and forgiving as I thought I was.

From that moment on, I decided to change. I made an effort to point out the good in that companion to all my future companions. It wasn’t hard either, because once I stopped feeling anger, I could clearly see that she was full of good and remember all of the good she had done for me as well as others while we were together. I wrote her a note and apologized for my behavior while we were together. I could now see things from her side and realized, I wasn’t the only one that thought I had it hard and I wasn’t the only one that did. I also wasn’t ideal to live with.

This particular companion became someone for me that I truly admire. She taught the gospel of Jesus Christ with such conviction. Regardless if we got along perfectly or not, I never denied that I always felt His spirit when she spoke of him. I am so grateful for all she taught me in that regard as well the valuable lesson of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is powerful. We read in the book of Hebrews about “entering into God’s rest.” Once I chose to forgive and humble myself, I felt rested once again. Carrying that burden of anger was exhausting.

Many times I have been reminded that the mission experience was so much more for me to learn than it was for me to teach.

I will forever be grateful for that and for two dear friends, one who taught me to forgive and another who forgave me.

The original article appeared on KSL. com  http://www.ksl.com/?sid=36938700&nid=1284&title=a-lesson-in-forgiveness-i-wanted-people-to-hate-her

 

Kate is a mom to three (almost four), one of ten children and writer in her spare time (which is why it takes her four years to write a book instead of four months). She loves being rejected so much that she continues writing. Currently, Kate writes for the uplifting section on KSL.com. She has written a couple of books as well as a screenplay. The screenplay won part of a contest in LA for the "Next Best Movie Idea". Currently she is turning that screenplay into a book. . . look for it in four years.  

Read more of Kate's writings at www.momentsofchunder.blogspot.com

 

 

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