Myse: This evening I chanced upon a shiva home for mincha and maariv. I was able to help make the minyan because of my mother [who is Jewish] and birthdate [over 13 years ago]. The atmosphere was very grim. There were 3 brothers who lost their elderly mother and one brother in particular was visibly broken. I am a very upbeat and optimistic person with a weakness for always searching for the silver lining in the dark clouds, so after much hesitation and deliberation, I decided to say something. You know, an attempt at some words of consolation. As I was talking the visibly despondent brother was shaking his head as if to say "no, no, no" and when I finished my short discourse, he KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK. He didn't like it ONE BIT.[The other 2 brothers didn't seem to mind]. It made me feel like I just experienced ותפתח ה' את פי האתון - me being the אתון. My natural inclination was to defend myself but I decided that this would be the IDEAL time to keep my mouth shut and accept his rebuke. So I did.
A] You can't win 'em all.
B] Don't stop trying.
C] Don't try to defend yourself when people are overcome by emotion, be it sadness or anger etc. etc. It usually just makes things worse.
D] If somebody says something to try to make you feel better, try to return the favor and make the person feel good in return, regardless of your feelings. [Not easy].
E] Forgive those who don't do "D".
F] Pray to Hashem that you are able to say the right words. Just to talk - even a donkey can do, as we learn in this weeks parsha.