Love, Learn

It was a very unsettled period in my young life when we moved in with my mother’s father for a year.  Not only did my world have a horrible void in it, I also learned that I did not make friends easily.

As life does, it dragged me forward, and somehow I became acquainted with a girl who lived across Horsham Road (which concerned my mother a great deal; it was a very busy street to cross) and down a side road.  Back when it was still safe for two fourth grade girls to walk places, we would walk with each other until we got to the place where we crossed the highway, make sure the crosser made it safely, then continue on our own to our respective homes.

I was walking her to the crossing point, and I believe we were talking about some boys in our neighborhood who had gotten into yet another stew. The family had a reputation for that kind of thing, so I am sure I was repeating something someone said when I told her, “You know how those Catholics are.  Always causing some sort of trouble.”

She got very quiet very fast and I had the tight oh-no feeling in my gut before she said, “I’m Catholic.”

Of course I back-pedaled as quickly as I could. I apologized. Profusely. I certainly didn’t want to lose this hard-won friend, and go back to being alone.

She was kind enough to forgive.  We put the entire thing behind us and continued on.

But I was never the same. Rightfully so.

I learned.

  • Not to copy what someone else says without thinking about it first.
  • That prejudice was embarrassing and hurtful.
  • That the hurtful part could be healed with a sincere apology and forgiveness
  • When you know better, you do better.

Photo by Miguel Saavedra

There is a distinct line that separates intentional bigotry from unintentional bias. It’s found in the opposite of the four points above:
  • Bigotry buys into an opinion without independent thought. It simply adopts the feelings of the group, untested and unquestioned beliefs.
  • Bigotry seeks to be deliberately hurtful.
  • There is never an apology and certainly no forgiveness.  There is instead a continual “stirring of the pot” to fester the wounds and keep them raw and angry.
  • The only “better” is self-centered, as in: I am better, my actions are more righteous.

I have often wondered where the Catholic comment originated.  I am pretty certain it was my grandparents, and the reason I say that is because of the history I have learned  about the strife between Protestants and Catholics, and that was something no doubt was part their family history.  Apparently there was still some of the forgiveness to be done.

Still my parents and grandparents had never asked what religion my friend was; they sanctioned her company because of who she was and how she conducted herself. So their bias wasn’t front and center 24/7. My parents did their best to teach the Golden Rule by example and often explained to us why we should do the same.
Still Getting It Together

Still Getting It Together
Photo by sanja gjenero

So that walk was an incident I treasure.  I was learning.  I continue to do so. My recent venture into the deaf culture has taught me so much about how what I thought I knew was different from the reality. I still ask forgiveness; I still strive to do better, I still learn.


This post is from:

Tell us a moment or an incident that you treasure  – not necessarily because it brought you happiness, but because it taught you something about yourself.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us LEARNING.


One response to “Love, Learn

  1. Pingback: Musings of a Sleepy Dreamcatcher | just another outlet

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