A casual cab ride from New York’s West Village across town created a memory that lingers and plays out in the multi-cultural society where I spend most of my time. The conversation began with an innocent question by the sardarji driving the taxi about where I was from.
“I live most of the time in Singapore.”
“Really, where? Several in my family live there.”
“Above the Cathay, at the bottom of Orchard Road.”
“Wow! That is near the Temple that they go to.”
“I know the place. It is on Mount Sophia.”
“Do you also know that we believe prayers have no power unless the person lives our his prayer? One’s actions must be in sync, otherwise God does not hear our prayers.”
I did not anticipate his segue. It has been several years since our casual conversation. I was reminded, with a fresh view of the temple and the individuals coming and going from worship, of the connection between the Spirit that lives within each and the actions we take in this world. When if works, “God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all.” (1 Corinthians 12.6) When it does not, it is humanity at its worst.
The reflection plays itself out in two customer service conflicts. In one, I was fully American – intense, focused, and demanding. While my cause was just, I wondered aloud at the time if the way I was handling the situation was an example of my highest values. With little idea of how to behave better, I candidly do not think so.
In the other, I was extremely frustrated with a price-matching guarantee offered by a website. My request for a price match was met with process and documentation. While expressing my frustration, I methodically took the time to fulfill their requirements. The note this morning promises to refund the difference and asks if there is anything else they can do to help me with my order.
Today is our opportunity to connect conversations with action; may they be as one.