Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Assumptions and to be present to God in others

What does it mean to not hold assuptions about others... to be present to the God in them, not in what you presume about someone?

I have a friend I haven't seen in several years... Genie and I got to know her back in 1981. She had fantasitic storries about everyone, some were wonderful, others dangerously damaging. She told us that a folksinger friend of ours could not go back to Ireland because he was an informer. There was no truth in that... This lie still colors how I feel about him when I hear his name or see him, then I have to remember that it is just not true. He has done me good turns, I like him and yet the ghost of that memory lingers... After a while, someone who knew her for her whole life told us that she seldom told the truth.

It took years to sort out the feelings we had about people she had said things about. Then, one day, while in conflict with another dear friend of mine, she told him that I hated him and was prejudice against that which defined him in a way one might say racialized him... set him out from the social perception of normal.

My relationship with him was never the same again. We were deep close friends, now we are polite to each other, even after we talked about how this friend was known to not tell the truth, and that he knew me better than to believe what she said. But, this is the danger of assumption, even short of out right lies. One begins to be present to the image, often when it is conflict with the person you have known for years. We, as Quakers promise to forgive, we sometimes don't seem to do that. We live our assumptions.

Dear friends, stop judging each other... stop pushing each other until some of us are pushed right out of the lives we treasure.


At 2:44 PM, Blogger david said...

It is so very very sad what damage human beings are prepared to do to one another. And also so very very difficult not to do it.

At 5:04 PM, Blogger Mike Harwood-Evans said...



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