Struggling with a roommate?

Transferring schools was going to be a drastic change. I had been going to the same public school with the same friends my whole life, so this was a big adjustment—especially because my new school was a boarding school. The thought that haunted me going into junior year was, Who was going to be my roommate? Never in my life had I had to live with a stranger for such an extended period of time, and honestly, the situation felt a little scary.

When the day finally came, I settled into my room, trying to familiarize myself with my new home. Then my roommate arrived. I welcomed her with my friendliest smile. She greeted me with a negative and argumentative manner. As the days progressed, I felt as though no matter how kind I tried to be, the tension in our room only became worse. As we both began to make new friends, she started spreading horrible rumors about me. Soon, I started to hate her and was scared of being in the same room with her.

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My roommate arrived. I welcomed her with my friendliest smile. She greeted me with a negative and argumentative manner. 

The hatred woke me up, and I knew I needed to turn to God for help because I didn’t want to feel this way. In Christian Science Sunday School, we had talked about Jesus’ parables, and the parable of the tares and the wheat immediately came to mind (see Matthew 13:24–30). In the parable, an enemy plants tares among the wheat, and the people working in the fields initially want to pick every tare, because the tares are weeds. But the owner of the land tells them that the tares and wheat look too similar—picking the tares at this point might ruin the wheat crop—so instead, the workers should let the tares and the wheat grow side by side until harvest. Even though the tares and the wheat look similar, it’s easier to tell them apart at harvest time.

One thing that struck me about the story was that even though the wheat and the tares looked the same, only one was really the wheat. I realized that I needed to think about my roommate in the same way. I needed to love and accept the reality of who this girl was based on what Jesus taught, and know that she could express only the good and loving qualities of God because that was her true identity. All of the bad things she had done were just the tares, disguising themselves as who she was. But in reality, she was always good—always wheat. I knew I needed to embrace this girl with love because that is what she truly needed. And just as the wheat couldn’t be hurt by the tares, I couldn’t be hurt by being loving and by expressing who I really am.

Another idea that helped me was thinking about a fish in a fishbowl. That might sound funny, but I liked remembering that because a fish is always submerged in water, it never worries about whether it has enough water. This applied to me because I realized that, just like the fish, I am always safe in my natural element—in God’s love. There is no way for me to be outside of it. I didn’t need to wonder or worry where God was, because I am always one with divine Love. So, even at those times when my roommate was being mean, I could still see myself spiritually—as completely protected by God’s love.

I needed to love and accept the reality of who this girl was based on what Jesus taught, and to know that she could express only the good and loving qualities of God.

As I continued to pray with these ideas, things began to get better. This girl and I even started to become friends. The tension began to fade. By the end of the year, I no longer thought of her as scary or mean—just as my friend. 

I’m so grateful for this healing, because it taught me to see everyone for who they truly are, no matter how they present themselves. This isn’t always easy. But the love you show them in seeing them correctly doesn’t just help them; it leaves you feeling loved, too.

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