Love is All You Need
Sometimes, if I’m having a particularly rough day at work, I leave at lunch and just go sit in a parking lot away from my office. I listen to music, read, have a quick bite to eat, but there are days that the solitude and silence is dear and I just want to be alone.
Today is one of those days. As I am mentally preparing for the afternoon, I see an old, time-worn pickup truck driven by an even older, more worn man heading towards me, and he pulls remarkably close with his window down. Doors already locked, I crack my window a bit.
“Sweetheart, are you okay? You alright?”
I laugh. “Yes, I am! Thanks for checking, but sometimes I just need to get out of the office for a few minutes, I’m fine, thank you!”
His eyes widen and a glint of mania shines. “You gotta be careful out here, there are MUSLIMS EVERYWHERE. I am an Evangelist, and THOSE PEOPLE are EVIL and DANGEROUS” (Normally I would avoid type-yelling, but I really think he might have been speaking in all caps. As close as I’ve ever seen it done, at least.)
This man does not know me at all. For all he knows, I am one of those legion Muslims, one of those he goes on to berate and vilify as I congratulate myself for having the door locked, and contemplate a new Lunch Break Hiding Spot.
“Do you pray for them?” I smile sweetly. The words are out of my mouth before I have time to consider them completely.
“I pray for AMERICA. I pray for OUR COUNTRY!”
“Since you said you’re an Evangelist I feel comfortable saying this to you,” I say conspiratorially, “I’m also a Christian. It makes me much happier to pray for people who I think may be evil, or who are misled or walking a dangerous path. It’s easier to be scared or angry, but as we should try to live in a Christ-like way, I feel compelled to pray for them. Maybe my one little prayer turns one person to Jesus. That’s enough for me.” I don’t mention that I don’t find Muslims to be evil, misled, or walking a dangerous path, but he doesn’t ask, either.
He looks like he has been struck by lightening. “You know, that’s a really good thought. That’s…that’s good, yeah!” He beams and tells me to have a great day, and God Bless, and I return the compliments before he drives away.
It’s a nice thought that he may have actually been struck by the realization that love should be our go-to weapon against darkness and against fear (You know, that whole “Love thy neighbor” thing). I won’t hold my breath, but I’ll certainly say a prayer for him.