I attended church this morning. I am proud of that assertion…because I do not attend as often as I should.
Early in the service…we have a segment that is called…passing the peace…where you shake hands with your fellow congregants…and wish them…peace.
As I shook, one young man’s hand, who I had spoke to earlier in the restroom…before the 9:30 am service began…he asked me…’If I had washed my hands after I had done my business?’
I responded that all that I had done was combed my hair…in the restroom….as I assumed that he was referring to our earlier encounter.
He repeated, emphatically, ‘did you wash your hands after you did your business?’
I responded that I had. He said, thank you.
I pondered this question…for sometime…today.
What is wrong with honesty and honest questions?
So often, we hide our real questions and motives behind a hidden agenda…or as The Catcher In The Rye’s primary character, Holden Caulfield, would say, we are phonies.
This fine young man, had an honest question…and sought an honest answer.
How often do we say one thing…and mean another?
How often, do we have a pre-conceived idea and construct and culminating decision regarding our fellow human beings…and that ‘concrete form’ that we have constructed…is the last word and idea and opinion…on another human that is traveling the same road that we are traveling…and eating the same dust from the trail…and feeling the same pain…that we are experiencing?
I just wrote a blog post about Race…and The Simplicity of Understanding. I think that, understanding, begins and ends…with honesty.
If we seek to understand others…we must be honest with our questions…and patient with our listening.
Listening, is an art.
Have you ever noticed that often when you are speaking to another person..that they are looking at you…and seem attentive…but that if you would inquire as to what you had just said…they would be a blank.
So often, when another is speaking, we are thinking about what we are going to say next.
Much is the same, when it comes to understanding the racial divide.
If we enter the discussion…feeling that we already have all of the answers…or if we are unwilling to consider ideas…that are somewhat foreign to us….we have lost the value of the dialogue…before it begins.
At the same time….expect…questions that are candid and hurtful and painful and much like tearing a bandage off of a gaping wound…if healing…is to result from the discourse.
‘Did you wash your hands…after you did your business?’