The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Monday, November 13, 2006

My Tree

His friend said to me "Law-Rah, what is wrong? You are not wearing your usual smile. Do you miss your friends and family back home?" I told him that was a sore subject at the moment, that I was having some disagreements with some people in my life. He said "It is because you met Ben and he is Muslim, isn't it." I could not hide it. I could not lie. He could see the hurt in my eyes.

He sat down and we talked. I expressed how hurt and confused I was. He listened. I told him that I am embarrassed that the people in my country are viewed as being so closeminded and even more embarrassed that it seems to be true. He continued to listen. I asked him how can he be so calm and rational? Why isn't he hurt and angry? He told me a story that his grandfather told him:

A man was born blind. He spent his whole life blind until one day when he was given a single moment where he could see. In that single moment when he opened his eyes, a tree stood before him. He took in the vision of green leaves and brown branches. He looked at the way in which the branches arched out over the trunk that stood so thick and strong. He saw a tree. In an instant, his sight was gone. He was blind again. As the days passed, a friend approached him. "Did you see that beautiful woman that just walked by?" He replied, "I am not sure, is she like a tree? If she is like a tree, I can see her." His friend said no and walked away. Another said to him "do you see this gorgeous house we are standing in front of?" He asked if it looks like a tree. The other hastily says no. "It is built out of the materials from a tree, but it looks nothing like a tree." The man frowns "oh, then I do not see this house." His friend became frustrated with him and left.

Ben's friend goes on to say that we must remember the man had only seen one thing in his whole life. We cannot blame him for not knowing other things. We should not be angry or hurt. We should just sit down with the man and explain to him the other things in life, helping him to understand and learn. I love this story, but I am learning that this can be a very hard thing to do.