“Above all, don’t lie to yourself.
The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he
cannot distinguish the truth within him,
or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others.
And having no respect he ceases to love.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
“It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world,
to explain and despise it.
But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it,
not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves
and all beings with love, admiration and respect.”
“He drew a circle that shut me out-
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him In!”
This quote by Edwin Markham…it was one of my favorite quotes… or better yet,
it actually became a sort of life rule that I kept close to my heart when I was in high school…
way back in the mid 70’s when I first found it.
It is a quote by Edwin Markham (April 23, 1852 – March 7, 1940)
He was a poet, as well as an American poet laureate, hailing from Oregan.
He was a prolific writer with most of his work coming from the years between 1923-1931.
This quote came racing back to my thoughts yesterday after a little incident I witnessed
at my local grocery store.
Let’s think of where I live.
I live in what is considered to be a small town.
We are about an hour west of Atlanta, give or take the traffic.
Yet we are a college town.
And we are what some might consider to be a sleeper community of Atlanta.
Meaning, folks drive back and forth to the big city in order to work.
We have big businesses but we still have a cattle sale barn that operates every Monday.
It’s where the local farmers bring their animals each week to show and sell…
So yes, we have pastures, cows, goats, sheep, bulls and yet we also have
global industry, a major hospital, a Division II college, and two nationally
recognized school systems…
Our town is a good town.
A small town with rural charm along with a comfortable modern feel.
So yesterday afternoon, I ran to the grocery store, our local Publix.
As I made my way to the door, pulling my mask over my face, I saw an older woman,
in her 80’s pushing her cart out of the store.
She was sporting a Trump 2020 t-shirt along with a black Trump 2020 face mask…
smartly accenting her jean skirt and sneakers.
I noticed out of the corner of my eye an elderly gentleman approaching us pushing another
grocery cart…he was bent over with age and I surmised he was her husband.
She told me she wanted to tell me something.
As she was an older woman and I have a deep respect for older folks,
I knew I needed to pay attention to what she wanted to tell me.
I don’t care what race, creed, or religion an older person might be,
they will always have my respect.
That’s how I was raised.
I might be almost 61 myself but I will always respect those who are older than I am.
No matter who they may be or where they may come from…be they humble
beings or more well do to…our elderly population are our treasures.
They have lived through so much, be it good or bad, and they have so much to
teach each one of us.
So when one of that generation tells me they have something to tell me,
I’m all ears.
This very southern gentile woman begins to tell me that a young man…
she told me his race, but to be honest I couldn’t make out exactly what she said
given the muffled voice coming from under her mask,
I could have easily assumed she was referring to a black male, but I’m just sticking with
This young male saw her shirt and mask and told her to her face that she was a
Suddenly I felt a sick feeling hitting my stomach like a brick.
That could have once been my grandmother.
For some punk to call my own grandmother a “fucking” anything would have
sent me reeling.
For all I know, my grandmother probably never had heard of such a word!
She was that much a southern lady…much like this woman
By this time, her hunched-over husband chimed in telling me that had he heard
this young man say that to his wife, he would have hit him but he was
not nearby as he was just trying to get a cart to help him walk.
Here was a feeble elderly man feeling that his wife has been terribly insulted
and he wasn’t there to defend her—and that tore my heart to pieces.
I apologized to this couple that such should have happened to them on this humid September
Thursday afternoon at their local grocery store in small-town USA.
I felt so hurt.
So much so that tears came to my eyes.
I could have just as easily seen an elderly black man or woman wearing a BLM shirt
at the store and I would never have ever considered saying a word.
I might have disagreed, but I would respect their choice, their right,
to wear such because that is indeed their, our, right as Americans.
I don’t have to agree, but I do have to have respect.
Because that is how I was raised.
And so that one little word, that one little issue, is, in a nutshell,
the answer to all of this idiocy taking place across this Nation of ours…
respect has died.
May she rest in peace.
And may God have mercy.
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them,
for this is the Law and the Prophets.