Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Practicing Tolerance

It was a beautiful autumn day with a hint of chill in the air, and I had just slipped into my multicolored bathrobe after a quiet meditation in the luxury of a warm bath. There was a loud knocking at the door and I wondered who would be calling mid-morn... probably just a delivery person or a meter reader, as my friends don't make morning house calls. As I opened the door, the chill rushed in and there were two women, one old, one young, and both obviously related. With a forced smile, the young woman challenged me with a question, "Ma'am were here to ask you what does it mean to find happiness in a family?" An internal groan... as I saw the small weatherworn bible she clutched in her hands. "Well, I said, as respectfully as I could, " I usually don't share such intimate conversation with perfect strangers, why do you ask?" "They nervously glanced at each other, and the older woman spoke up." We're not here to sell anything, but while we were in the neighborhood, we wanted to help acquaint you with the good news of family values..." I took a deep breath, as I have heard these pronouncements before and politely asked if "the good news" had anything to do with the bible? The young woman brightened and then asked what religion I was. "Well, I'm not a christian but then again, I usually don't share my beliefs with strangers." The older woman now eyed me with suspicion, and added, we really only want to ask your opinion about family... and then quoted something from "the book." In my head, I thought of the horror I would probably encounter if I told these women my true beliefs and yet, there was no need to make this anything more than a pleasant exchange. Instead, I offered to peruse the literature I knew they had brought along in those large pocketbooks, saying that I am interested in other people's perspectives, even if I may not agree. Gladly they pulled out the familiar Watchtower pamphlets and handed them over, the young one stating, "I'm sure you don't want to catch a chill, as I see you just washed your hair." "Thank you," I said, "I hope you have a delightful walk on this glorious day." The older woman grimaced and replied, "Oh, it's awfully cold out here," and with that they both turned and walked away. I spent a few minutes looking over the materials that seemed a bit outdated, the words extolling both the secrets of happiness and the horrors of Satan, replete with italicized quotes from that old black book. "Yes, it must be very cold for you out there," I thought as I gently guided the literature into the trash.


  1. This is a powerful post, I wonder myself how cold it is out there and even though I practice tolerance as much through loving kindness as possible and to know that others don't feel the warmth and love I do, it saddens me in my art of hearts. Great post.

  2. Thank you Gabriella! We can still help to heal with our loving hearts, without judging another's evolution.