Tolerance, Awareness, Christians and Me!
Tonight I was reading an article by a writer who was sharing details of her personal life, and the writer was not preaching or saying anything controversial that would generally push buttons. However, I found myself reacting with some eye rolling, and a frown now and then, and a few clown faces behind the scenes every time she used the words, "the Lord shall punish" and "The Lord welcomes the saved" and "obey the Lord".
I had visions of fundamental Christians wielding machetes or pitchforks because my views and concept of God differs from theirs. But, then I realized that even if I may not be a pitchfork or machete woman, I............. was reacting with intolerance. The facial contortions suddenly stopped upon this realization. My, how quickly my face relaxed.
Here I am an individual who generally practices acceptance of all paths as long no one is maiming or killing or causing great suffering to a human or animal in order to support their belief system. I was reminded if I appreciate tolerance and acceptance for who I am and what I believe in, why not fully, totally extend it to others, in the privacy of my mind without stereotyping, just because I was annoyed?
We all are where we are, and no one really has the answer why we choose the paths or beliefs we do, or know who God truly is. We don't know what really happens to us when we die, we have an idea based on hope and faith or a story we create around the nature of creation.
In the expression of the human experience, diversity can teach us tolerance and true unconditional love. Its very easy to sing love songs along the lines, of "let's all hold hands and dance around the globe" when we share a commonality with kindred spirits, but the minute our buttons are pushed, as we often see in the forums and in our personal lives, we get an opportunity to know where we are in terms of tolerance, inner peace and awareness.
What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly - that is the first law of nature.
Human diversity makes tolerance more than a virtue; it makes it a requirement for survival
Rene Dubos (Celebrations of Life, 1981)
I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strangely, I am ungrateful to these teachers.
"In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher."
As Dr. Wayne Dyer, a spiritual writer and teacher has said, "When we squeeze an orange, no matter how tight we squeeze it, orange juice always follows," the same is for humans, "when we are squeezed, and provoked, what comes out? the same person/juice we generally are or an alter ego howling at the moon that scares little children?
I am thankful to that stranger whose path I may never cross again. In her way, she gifted me on this Christmas Day with a realization that even if I was a bit intolerant for a minute or two, I am also much more consciously aware of what is going on in me, and I let it go without self judgment. We are all, after all, a work in progress.
And yes, thankfully when I am squeezed by annoying humans, I don't really howl at the moon, I just make silly faces now and then. :)
Merry Christmas everyone!