I RECENTLY came across a quotation about the composer Henry Purcell who, just before he died in 1695, was asked by a friend, ‘Have you made your peace with God?’
Purcell’s reply was simple and to the point: ‘We never quarrelled’.
How many of us could say the same, even about our relationships with those closest to us?
Too often we feel slighted by something that has been said or done, which, in the overall scheme of things, wasn’t particularly important; those instances where we felt that our individual status, real or imaginary, has been ignored or where we haven’t been treated with the respect we believe we deserved.
Then, before anyone realises, a small problem becomes a big one and, as pride takes a hand, the parties stop speaking to each other, a state of affairs that can last a lifetime.
We certainly shouldn’t allow people to walk all over us but at the same time we are often too keen to get upset over things that really don’t matter.
On other occasions, problems arise out of misunderstandings, perhaps due to a careless remark, overheard and repeated wrongly or out of context, which then causes a rift.
Sometimes the cause of the argument happened so long ago that the individuals concerned don’t really remember what it is about, although the sense of grievance remains as real as ever.
Perhaps we would earn more respect if we could honestly say, ‘We never quarrelled’, irrespective of whether we mean God or members of our social circle.
This is not the season for making resolutions but perhaps this one, deciding to be slower to take offence, is worth making and, hopefully, keeping.