Teachers from high school days or college or church or those we've met through books or tv lectures, etc.-- those are the ones we would name if anyone cared enough to ask, "Which teacher has most influenced you?"
But today I suggest that some of the most remarkable, life-influencing teachers are those people who make us nuts. Those annoying souls in our lives who know just how to irritate us into longing to become hermits. The ones who bring out the worst in us, you know, the moods we thought we'd dealt with already, the bad habits and irritations we believed had gone away forever.
The people about whom pray, "Oh Lord, just make her go away. Please make her leave me alone."
Those people, I say, just may be our greatest, most valuable teachers.
They teach us how not to behave, what not to say, how not to treat others.
They show us what happens when we disregard self-control.
They remind us about the necessity of boundaries and of just plain minding our own business.
And while in our hot-and-bothered state, they show us just how very far we still have left to go.
That is, if we are paying attention. As in, not allowing our brains to see only red and reacting only with fight or flight. Or hitting back by using the blame game, the silent treatment or blabbing to all our friends how ______ is a clueless/mean/annoying slob.
It's all about learning from others' mistakes so that we will make adjustments and not make the same ones. And it's also all about remaining humble enough, teachable, too, to learn those lessons well for ourselves, rather than just, over and over, becoming upset, flustered and pull-our-hair-out wild every time these teachers are doing what they do best--and perhaps--what they are meant to do, to teach, in our lives.
"Iron sharpens iron. So one man sharpens another."