Human Behavior, Uncategorized

Let Me Be Your Voice

January 25, 2016

Not everyone feels like speaking up. Not everyone can speak up. Those of us who can should speak up for those who can’t.

Several of my friends have recently lost family members. Some are so stricken with grief that they can’t tell us what is going on. They need us to stand by them and speak words of love and support.

I recently got into an argument with a born-again. You know the type. “I’m right, you’re wrong and you’re going to hell.” Maybe, but that’s none of her business. I was talking with a dear friend in a coffee house when this person thrust her nose into our private conversation. Now, my friend and I were speaking quietly about our beliefs in the spirit world and how those same spirits watched over those left behind in the world. We quietly folded our hands like this _/_ and said, “namaste” for a different friend whose husband was dying of cancer.

A woman at nearby table rose and walked over. She called us pagans and said we would burn in hell. We weren’t welcome in this coffee house. My girlfriend asked if she was the owner. She wasn’t, but because SHE was having coffee, we weren’t welcome. Much as we tried to ignore her, her voice became strident. It rang across the shop at the very moment when no one was steaming milk.  “You’re going to burn in hell,” she repeated.

By now, my gentle girlfriend had had enough. She rose to her grand height of 5′ and stared the woman down. When the woman quit shrieking, my friend suggested she not cross our paths again because we hadn’t sacrificed anyone lately. If she continued, we would break our vow of no human sacrifices. The woman left.

A man started clapping. The entire coffee house cheered. My friend sat down, visibly shaking from the confrontation. Neither of us were prepared to be attacked for our beliefs. We weren’t shoving them down anyone’s throat. We just wanted a double-shot latte with skim milk. Just coffee and conversation and a brief prayer of healing.

When we stood to leave, the owner came over and apologized. I smiled and put my hand on his shoulder. “It’s neither your fault nor your responsibility for the behavior of your patrons.”

He nodded. “Let me be your voice this time. I will never tolerate prejudicial behavior.”

My girlfriend and I left. Outside, she whispered, “Do you know who he is?”

I didn’t.

“His wife is a pastor of one of the most fundamental churches in the area. And he welcomed us.”

We grinned and walked away, more than willing to let this man be our voice this time.

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  • Reply pdroberts1 January 25, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    I have spent a good part of my life speaking up for others with passion and zeal. I believe it is a vitally important thing to do and that it makes a difference in the balance of the universe or the music of the spheres or just in the strength of the flow of goodness into this world. At almost 70 I am learning, slowly, sometimes painfully, almost always with relief and gratitude and joy, to let others speak for me. It is not easy for a life long crusader to take that step back and pass the torch. But I am also learning that the passing of the torch is another kind of passion and that my contribution now might just be the quietness of spirit to be still rather than the zeal to march and shout. On the other hand, I have to confess that the temptation would have been great to put on my cape, stand tall, and do my finest verbal smack-down on that outrageous fundamentalist evangelical crap. I’m afraid I have not quite arrived at stillness and quiet yet. Working on it. And, at the risk of being inexcusably vulgar, I will share something a friend told me recently, “Religion is like a penis. I don’t mind your having it as long as you don’t take it out and wave it in my face.” Sorry about that. It does seem to fit the situation.

  • Reply jennifer January 25, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    I wish more people truly understood what the truth of the good ole BIBLE is. Agape, in Greek meaning unconditional love, the one consistent message that is conveyed through the whole book. See, as a “born again”, I have been studying and God has allowed me to see. There is so much more to the Bible than just what is in black and white! THERE IS A GRAY AREA PEOPLE! (And yes, I am shouting it too!) Living in this area since January 2015, God allowed me to move to be moved. Moved closer to Him in knowing what He wants from us, not what people want! At times it can be confusing to decipher yet when one opens themselves up to receive, they will see Him in everything. Including in seeing you being there for a friend. Not judging, uplifting. God was there. He knows all and sees all and even if you said “namaste”He knew it would be said yesterday! As long as we live in peace and consistently uplift one another, we don’t have to agree on who’s who in spirituality, We do however need to love! Instead of having blinders on and only seeing what was in front of her, she should have done the opposite and thanked God that your friend had a friend that LOVED!

    • Reply betsyashton January 25, 2016 at 8:24 pm

      Thanks, Jennifer. I think what annoyed the woman was our hand gesture. Neither of us is Muslim. Neither of us wears anything that sets apart from anyone else. I mean, jeans, sweatshirts and big warm scarves are just about as common as boots on a snowy day. I felt bad for this woman. She was not living proof that her religion was inclusive. By telling us that our beliefs, while different, were wrong showed just how judgmental she was.

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