Both Sides Now

Good News meditation.
by Matthew Brock, LC | Source:
You open the barn door with a gentle creaking noise. Inside is pitch black except for a ray of light streaming through a crack in the roof. The shaft of light is full of swirling dust, hay pollen, flies, and a thousand other particles of barnyard unpleasantries. Your friend, standing in that beam of light, looks up and spies a bird’s nest in the rafters, and through the crack he sees a shiny little weather vane, green leaves from a spreading chestnut tree, puffy clouds, and blue sky. You don’t like what you see; he thinks the view is beautiful. Your friend is right. Or are you right? You cannot judge until you have stepped into that beam of light and seen it from both sides.

The line was long and only getting longer. A hot day, the kind of hot summer day the American South is famous for, was making those waiting to renew their drivers’ licenses listless, impatient, frustrated. Margarita had to leave the line for a moment, and when she got back, Cathy had moved up into her spot.

Margarita exploded. “What? Do you think that just because I’m a Mexican immigrant you can just take my place, totally ignore me? You probably think I’m illegal, huh! Well excuse me, Miss White-American-lady-never-had-to work-in-my-life: you are WRONG! I am not going to get pushed over and stepped on any more! Now give me back my place.”

Cathy stood there stunned. Then she reacted. “I am SO sorry!” she said gently. “I didn’t realize you were coming back. Please, go ahead.”

Margarita looked equally stunned, and then muttered, “Sorry, it’s been a long day.”

They both stood in silence for a few moments, then Cathy asked with a smile, “So, where are you from?” and they struck up a conversation.

It turned out Margarita had been in the States for fifteen years, and was working two jobs to put her son, the pride of her life, through college. “You should see him, he’s so good, so intelligent,” she beamed.

Cathy was a stay-at-home Mom with eight children, and she had something special in common with Margarita: her Catholic faith. Cathy went to daily Mass and prayed the rosary with her husband and children every evening.

When they reached the front of the line they were both chatting away like old friends. “God bless you, Margarita,” said Cathy as they parted. “God bless you too, Cathy! I’ll be praying for you!”

They went their ways as wiser women. Both had been able to see beyond the prejudices and stereotypes taught them by their social class, and Cathy had learned that charity, even if not the first reaction, is always the best reaction. They had stepped into that beam of light, and have seen each other from both sides now.

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