I don’t know about you but I’m particularly fond of things that I buy on sale, and not just any sale, but huge 75% off type savings. It can be a truly religious experience for me 😉
One of the things I struggle with is the “love thy neighbor like yourself” concept. This struggle has become more obvious to me since attending the Quaker meetings. Each Sunday there is a gentleman who stands up at the end of the meeting to ask us to hold in the light whoever the state of Texas is about to execute. I’m very much against the death penalty and I admire this man who can think of these criminals in such a caring way. I’m not sure I am able to do this with as much sincerity.
I was thinking about this concept while driving down a busy street the other day. As I looked at my surroundings, trees, people at a bus stop, birds sitting on a telephone pole I felt nothing for them, other than idle curiosity. I wondered what it would be like to really care for each of these people/things. What if I could love them like they were mine, like my own children, like something that was 75% off!
But if I had this much love for everything wouldn’t it blind me to the bad things in the world? Wouldn’t I become the type of person to only see good and miss the pain; making excuses for anything bad that happened because deep down everyone’s good. I’ve know people like this, it’s the opposite of the pessimist and far beyond the optimist, it’s the “nothing’s ever really wrong” uber happy people. I want to slap them, because ultimately if you see no pain you see nothing to change, nothing to fight for.
Maybe I was making excuses for why I didn’t have to care. I mean, I didn’t want to lose my perspective right? Caring too much might make me the disgusting uber happy person I dreaded. I didn’t want to not see pain and therefore not feel compelled to do anything about it. That was my excuse anyway.
Almost instantly I realized that it’s only in the caring that you truly see the pain. It is the love that opens you up to see and respond to someone else’s need. A need you probably didn’t even know existed until you loved them. As opposed to blinding me to all that was negative, it would open my eyes to the real and expansive understanding of human pain and love.
I actually started crying in traffic when I realized this. Such a simple concept that I had never grasped before.
I’m not at the point yet where I can see the positive side of everyone, but I work at it daily. And it certainly takes the religious experience out of shopping and puts it where it belongs.