Star Spangled Pride

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So yesterday was a bit of a rant about my 4 year old. To keep a little balance and maybe give some insight for how well my daughter is turning out considering the genetic pool she came from. With all that said, here is my Fourth of July humbling.
To start, I should make clear one of my pet peeves. I am not a fan of the word tolerance being thrown around like some kind of awesome thing. People seem to think that in order for the world to get along, we all need to accept everyone’s beliefs. I don’t think that way. I reserve the right to completely disagree with people if I so desire. But what I do feel is essential is respect and love. I may completely disagree with someone, but I still need to see them as a human being…created in God’s image and by Him. With that said, apparently I am a hypocrite. The perfect example of why I am both right, and a hypocrite comes to us at the Fourth of July celebration. We went to a frontier town to have dinner, go to all the rides and events, and watch fireworks. It was a blast. The lines were a bit long, but that was to be expected at a big event like this.
Towards the end of the evening we stood in line for about a half hour for a train ride. The lady two people in front of us was smoking a cigarette (in truth, several cigarettes). She was aiming the smoke away from her family, and flicking the cigarette away from them as well. That unfortunately meant she was aiming them both at those behind her in line. To say I am not a fan of smoking is an understatement. I was very annoyed at her, and thought some pretty nasty things about her in my mind. The lady in front of me was also annoyed and we did the classic passive aggressive behavior of talking loudly about how we wished they didn’t allow smoking in line, etc.
Fast forward to when we finally get on the train, Sasquatch chooses the bench directly behind the smoking lady. The train ride lasted over 5 minutes and I discovered she was the friendliest, sweetest woman I have met. Considering the ideas I was forming about her in my mind, I was humbled…and rightly so. Here is where the point I made earlier comes to play. I still do not find smoking acceptable. It is harmful and disgusting….but also highly addictive. Considering I struggle to not engorge myself on chocolate or ice cream every other day, I really shouldn’t be one to judge someone of their addictions. I am not “tolerant” of smoking, but this woman did deserve my respect and I had not given it to her. We parted in very friendly terms and I watched her and her family walk away, chatting and laughing and enjoying each other’s company.
So there you have it. I am still not a fan of tolerance. But I now see how I still tend to withhold respect from those who deserve it more than me.

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