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June 30, 2011

Maybe I’m just more aware now or a little less self-centered, but the last few days have me reflecting on people and my own internal battle over what I think of them.  The idealist in me wants to believe we are all innately good.  But days like yesterday keep me wondering.  Can that be so? I’ve been duped, forced to act against that ideal and for my own interest, conscience be damned.  Even if it’s not me who’s naturally selfish or bad.  There are people who are takes actions that get us here, who get us to become selfish, ruthless, inconsiderate, beings just to survive.

But today, in some small way, a few guys renewed my confidence in humanity a little bit.  I sit in the local coffee shop.  It’s quieter than usual, and I like it–there’s not a struggle to tune out the low murmur surrounding me.  Usually it’s just mostly regulars at this time, the cool people who don’t have office jobs, lucky ducks.

Three twenty-somethings walk in–definitely indie with sting bracelets, canvas shoes, v-necks.  Definitely not regulars, though since they introduced themselves to the lone employee behind the counter.   One walks my way and introduces himself, then asks some basic questions (“Working on a book report?” Still look younger than I am).  And he gets to what I think must have been his goal–he works with the college ministry at a local church.

After eight years in the South, and a whole life in the religious minority wherever I am, things like this don’t shock or offend me, or make me uncomfortable,  I respect the differences of religion I encounter and what they require of their followers.  So I explained that I am Jewish (I left out the part that I wasn’t a very a good one).

Usually, the conversations can head down two paths from there, both equally awkward.  Sometimes the conversation just stops there.  Or they begin to explain why I should convert or join them for a service or pick up a bible, to which I respectfully just listen.  It can be hard to listen to that kind of lecture when you get the inkling it’s an “I’m right you’re wrong situation.”

But he did neither of these.  He asked me, taking an interest in what I believed, even if I didn’t give a very helpful answer.  And then we moved on.  Eventually his two friends joined us (oh are you working on a book report? no, it’s summer).  And we just talked–no religion involved.  And that’s a respect I can appreciate and I’m intrigued by.  To have confidence your beliefs, religious or otherwise, so that you don’t feel threatened to the point that you need to defend and explain your position without any sort of questioning or attack is something I don’t see very often.  I respect that.

They left with my blog address so more than one may read this…  awkward? Maybe.

Thanks for giving me something to write about, guys.

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