Predetermined Attitude

My attitude was set the moment the dean of my dormitory said, “You’re going to have a roommate this quarter. Our enrollment is up, so you’re going to have to share your room.”

For a year and a half of graduate school, I worked with the dean as his assistant, and one of the benefits of the job was having a room to myself. The thought of sharing my room with someone else produced a flood of negative emotions. I didn’t want a roommate. I had my room set up exactly as I wanted it. If every item in the room wasn’t exactly in the place it should be, it didn’t matter. It was my room, my things, my décor … or not. I didn’t want a roommate!

Then I started considering the possibilities of who this individual might be. If someone was just arriving and didn’t know anyone or have a roommate selected ahead of time, in all likelihood this guy was going to be a geek, a weirdo, a socially dysfunctional person who would require tremendous amounts of energy to feed and care for.

At that point, I went on to my next class and became distracted with the stuff of the day. I forgot about my feelings until I returned to my room in the afternoon to find a stack of boxes and suitcases in the middle of the floor. The emotions returned big time.

As I examined the stack, I observed a folder on the top with a name on it. I looked a little closer and read the name. It was Allen H., a very good friend I’d gone to high school with a number of years back. We’d even talked about rooming together in college. There was a great sense of relief at that moment, and by the end of that year, we had developed an even closer relationship and had learned so much from that experience.

My predetermined attitude didn’t give the situation or the individual a chance. My attitude was going to sabotage the relationship, no matter who it was. Furthermore, it cost me a great deal of energy and happiness. The new situation, in fact, turned out to be a wonderful new life opportunity.

by Chaplain Ron Hyrchuk

July 31, 2008