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 | By Veronica Szczygiel, Ph.D.

Where is God in our daily interactions?

When I was in the park with my dog Sonia, she desperately wanted to greet a fluffy Pomeranian much smaller than her. I asked the owner if that was OK, and he responded, “Sorry, but no. My dog likes people more than other dogs.” I smiled and quipped, “That’s OK. I like dogs more than other people.” We both chuckled and went our separate ways.

While I was trying to be cheeky, I couldn’t help but think that there was truth in my statement. Sometimes, people feel like the worst. Just open up the news to war and violent crime, and you’ll be easily convinced. Even daily interactions with others can be nightmares. For instance, I absolutely hate it when, on my daily commute into Manhattan, people from the subway platform push into the train car before the passengers get out. It’s inefficient, and it’s just plain rude. I know the poet John Donne wrote, “No man is an island,” but in these moments, I sure wish I could be one.

However, God didn’t create us to go through life alone. He created us to live in community with each other, and, more importantly, in him. But how can we do this fully when people can just plain get on our nerves?

I think the answer is found in Jesus’ own words: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” (Jn 13:34)

Jesus is asking – no, requiring! – that we love others as he loves us. And he loves us wholly, fully and unconditionally. We should strive to do the same for others. A good place to start is to see others in the way Jesus sees us – as his beloved, treasured children.

It naturally follows, then, that in our daily interactions with family, friends and strangers, we must treat them in the way that God treats us – with patience, kindness, mercy and love.

  • Have a child who always takes too long getting ready? Be patient.
  • Meet a grumpy person behind the counter at the grocery store? Be kind.
  • Hear something hurtful from another coworker? Be merciful.
  • Frustrated that your husband didn’t put away the dirty dishes? Love him anyway. (But also, kindly ask him to help you!)

If every day we see others in the precious, tender way that God sees us, we will spread his love through our love. And, in doing so, we will find God himself right there, in those daily interactions.

Veronica Szczygiel, Ph.D., is the director of online learning at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education

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