A couple married in a "Hippie Wedding" on Valentines Day.
I just finished a couple of weeks in extraordinary circumstances - I will return to the "instincts" series at a later date. Also, if you are not reading the daily articles that accompany these writings, please visit www.captureamerica.co and sign up for them. David
“Do not judge a man before you have walked a mile in his moccasins.” - Indian proverb
“There is a principle which . . . cannot fail but to keep man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” - Herbert Spencer
I recently encountered two situations I have not encountered before. One was working as a cabinet repairman in a “projects” – a government subsidized apartment complex. I spent a week in people’s apartments – in their kitchens – quietly observing their lives. The other was attending a gathering of “The Rainbow Family,” an event where a couple of thousand “hippies” gathered in a national forest for two weeks. I camped in the forest with the hippies and quietly observed their lives as well.
I could have come out of either situation convinced that I had found exactly what I expected to. After all, aren’t black folks that live in projects nothing but lazy drug addicts? Aren’t hippies that live in the woods nothing but filthy drug addicts too? Yes, I could have found that exact type of person at either place – and I did find a few. But they were in the vast minority. But the worse thing that I found was those folks outside the groups – those on the periphery of these people who told completely false and often sensational tales as though they were fact. And I consequently found myself under attack for defending what I knew to be the truth.
In both places a majority of people were trying to find a place in life – trying to feel as though they mattered and were loved. In spite of knowing they are branded by society, for the most part these folks put out effort to help their neighbors – more of an effort than average and an extraordinary effort in many cases.
Yes, I still have many pre-conceived notions about groups of people that I have spent zero time around. I don’t know how to rid myself of this except by forcing myself to spend time with them. And when I put out this effort I am faced with some sadness, but I am blessed with a richness of experience that far out-weighs any of the shared pain I might feel.
The lesson to me is simple. I am never going to have a solid basis to speak upon unless I have at least walked at least a few steps alongside another – although a mile in his moccasins would be preferable. I hope that I can rid myself of many of my preconceived notions – but it is hard with the constant bombardment of propaganda we get from media and others. But, today, just today, I can pause and think before I make a statement that I do not have the experience to make. Maybe I can realize that when I make such false statements it is just me trying to build myself up by tearing someone else down. But on the other hand, just maybe, if I try hard, I may be able to spend enough time with my fellow man to reach the place that I love, rather than fear, that which I do not know. And may God grant me the self-control to keep my mouth shut the rest of the time.
Today, may I be open.
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