I actually hold two sayings from the bible as my belief. The first saying or quote is “Do Unto Others”. The second quote is “Love Thy Neighbor”. The merging of these two statements into my belief evolved over many years of reflection. People may say I have a simplistic viewpoint if they want; they may be correct.
Life is not easy for a child or teenager whose parents barely scrape by. Compound this with a brother who could not walk or talk, and imagine the remarks. Suffice to say my sister and I were teased a lot. The kids at school and even some of the teachers would let us know in some form or another that we amounted to nothing. We did have some friends but at times even they shied away.
I spent a lot of time on the roof of my house simply watching the world go by. My mom and sister were particularly close and I felt cut off most of the time, finding refuge in my imagination and books. My father always seemed to understand my roof visits and would tell me to get down when ready. The next door kids would join me sometimes, although they really didn’t understand why I needed to be there.
There was a good friend that took me to church with her. At this church the majority of the people showed me an understanding and compassion I had rarely experienced from anyone other than my grandma. They fully ascribed to the philosophy of “Do Unto Others”. I learned a great deal about tolerance and gentility from them, a debt I will always owe.
My grandma was a feisty little woman that I spent many summers with. Her favorite verse from the Bible was “Love Thy Neighbor”. She taught me that it did not matter; rich, poor, black, or white, everyone is my neighbor. She always treated everyone she met with love, and sometimes a little temper. My granny was not a pushover in any way!
Over the years, from a lonely child to a somewhat responsible adult, these philosophies still hold strong. It has been my experience that to show love and acceptance, garners it in return. I always try to show grace and tolerance, but I am also human. I have trouble sticking to my beliefs in the face of jeering, hard-hearted, bitter people.
All and all I do think that trying to understand each other, will make the world better. Although there is enough cynicism in me to know it won’t be in my lifetime. I still hope that in some small way I’ll make a difference for someone, for anyone. I do hope. I do believe, and maybe some day these simple philosophies will inspire us all.
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