Spiritual Catalysts Uplift Relationships by guest blogger Brenda Evers

You probably know what a catalyst is.  If you ever took a Science class, you may remember the metal or other material added to an experiment to make it go faster.  The catalyst itself wasn’t changed.  It just made the desired chemical change go faster.

Is there such a thing as a spiritual catalyst?  Something that makes a desired effect occur quicker, but isn’t changed itself?  How about kindness?  Or respect?  Don’t these have a good effect?  And aren’t they unlimited spiritual resources that can bring a needed change without changing themselves?

An experience I had a few years ago during the hectic holiday season illustrates the point.

One afternoon, I was standing in line at a small post office.  There were several customers waiting and one lone postal worker serving at the counter.  As I waited and the line slowly crept forward, I saw how disgruntled and burdened the postal worker was.  She was curt and brusque with the customers.  I was not looking forward to my encounter with her.  But then something changed.

One customer, having received the same discourteous service, stuck out her hand to shake hands with the worker, thanking her for her “”wonderful service” and wishing her a good holiday.

I was impressed and apparently so were the other customers, for the whole atmosphere changed.  The worker was noticeably kinder and the customers more relaxed due to the generosity of that single customer.  The catalysts of respect and kindness had greatly improved things!

Sometime later, I remembered this experience and had an opportunity to put the lesson into practice.  A neighbor began acting in an unkind and unreasonable way.  Seemingly for no reason and after being cordial for years, this man began throwing the trimmings from his trees over the fence into our backyard.

I was confused and upset.  I didn’t understand why he acted this way.   And while I did not know the man well, I knew his wife and children.  His daughters had even babysat my younger children occasionally.

When I happened to meet one of the daughters one day while shopping, I asked her if her dad was ok.  She laughed sheepishly and said he had been angry for years because the leaves on two of our trees fell into their pool, making it hard to keep clean.

I was surprised.  I had no idea.  Why hadn’t they told us?  But although his behavior seemed unreasonable, I was determined to do what I could to make amends.  Remembering the circumstances in the post office years before, I thought of how kind words and understanding could make a real change.

Even though the neighbor family and our family were not close friends, and the parents had not previously been in our home, my husband and I invited them for a visit to discuss the situation.  With a sense of neighborliness, which I think we all felt, the visit was friendly.  We easily found a solution to the problem.  My husband and I told them we would gladly remove the two trees and replace these with trees that did not drop their leaves

We did this.  And we discovered something else.  This kindly approach to the conflict brought a warmth to our relationship such that a few years later, when they moved, there were hugs and handshakes shared and true regret to see them go.  There had been a permanent change in everyone’s thought due to the spiritual catalysts of kindness and understanding!  The lesson was confirmed for me, that whether it is the holiday season or not, kindly words and deeds can bring a needed uplift and healing to relationships.

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Brenda is a writer who loves to learn about and share with readers the connection between spirituality and health. In addition, she is a Christian Science Practitioner in Ellicott City, Maryland.  She and her family spent many wonderful years in Southern California and now are happy to have returned to beautiful Maryland.