A spiritual director who was visiting a local beach found a group of family members who were shouting in anger at each other. He turned to his disciples, smiled and asked,

‘Why do people shout in anger at each other?’

The disciples thought for a while, one of them said, ‘Because we lose our calm, we shout.’

‘But, why should you shout when the other person is just next to you? You can as well tell him what you have to say in a soft manner,’ said the director.

His disciples gave some other answers but none satisfied the other disciples.

Finally the spiritual director explained,

‘When two people are angry at each other, their hearts distance a lot. To cover that distance they must shout to be able to hear each other. The angrier they are, the stronger they will have to shout to hear each other to cover that great distance.

What happens when two people fall in love? They don’t shout at each other but talk softly, because their hearts are very close. The distance between them is either nonexistent or very small…’

The director continued, ‘When they love each other even more, what happens? They do not speak, only whisper and they get even closer to each other in their love. Finally they even need not whisper, they only look at each other and that’s all. That is how close two people are when they love each other.’

He looked at his disciples and said:

‘So when you argue do not let your hearts get distant, do not say words that distance each other more, or else there will come a day when the distance is so great that you will not find the path to return.’

What is it that distances you from the ones you love?  Do you not feel understood, accepted, respected or valued?  Or are you not understanding, accepting, respecting or valuing those you love?  These attributes determine the distance between hearts and the volume of the voice. 

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