A casual conversation started with innocence.
“I was listening to the radio the other day. A listener had called in and was talking about the way many Muslims embrace violence as an answer to their problems…”
“You know the listener is not informed! There are more Muslims that hate violence then think it is the solution.”
“The listener was…”
“I am not sure why we think Muslims and violence automatically go together. As Christians, we react to extremist in the same way that many Muslims do. We are both silent.”
“Maybe. There is a lot of evidence…”
“On both sides. I just do not understand how one can make such generalizations!”
I am not a fan of stories where I lose the plot. In this case, a simple introduction to a point was a spur that set my heart and mind in overdrive. I was frustrated. I was annoyed! I was in a righteous furor that was not going to be quenched. I was a one-person mob following an old pattern, when a conversation “set them off in a frenzy. They ran into the street yelling, ‘Great Artemis of the Ephesians! Great Artemis of the Ephesians!’” (Acts 19.28, 29)
Our conversation never went further. One party was left battered and bruised. The other, me, was angry and frustrated. Even with time, the scene is sad and ugly. Whatever my intent, I missed the opportunity to hear another’s story. Even as I stood up against an unknown person’s view, I carelessly told another that I did not care about something that was important to them. An open window closed.
I wish this story had a positive finish. It does not. I have left someone important to me bruised for the interaction. I told them that “I” was more important than “us”. I also did it in a way that was brutal, violent.
I have apologized but the bruise remains. I lost a wonderful opportunity. I hope I always remember. The price has been paid. I have an opportunity to embrace my aspirations when a window opens again.