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A Kinder, Gentler Message

It rained again today, and it was slightly heavier than two days ago. It's an amazing sight, everyone walking around with waterproof jackets rather than the usual sweaters, and for the first time since I came, umbrellas appeared. The glossy, plastic feel of the crowd seems almost unreal to the everyday scene of sunshine I'm so used to seeing.
What sort of person would walk around carrying an umbrella here, I wondered. There is an average of 300 sunny days, and of the remaining sixty, a good percentage of them are just cloudy. Well, it must take quite a prepared person to whip up an umbrella.
I've been quite a prolific contributor to the WIldcat, which is Tucson's daily newspaper. It's free and easily available, but I read it online, and contribute to the discussions there. I would like to think of myself as environmentally friendly, but the real reason behind not getting the papered copy is that I don't want to fill my wastepaper basket in my room at too fast a rate. Laziness rules.
There was a recent stabbing of a gay student somewhere near campus recently, and there was a march to protest against such hate crimes. I read the Wildcat and saw pictures of people carrying signs "Jesus Loves Gays" or "God loves all Her children", and I found the focus of the signs entirely wrong. I contributed to the Wildcat, and got a rather defensive response from another reader. I tend to shun away from heated confrontations, because I know that I don't have the perseverance to argue my case. Winning an argument gives me a distorted sense of success I'd rather not have, and I find it not worth stepping over another for.
I replied to that person, Pattie. I tried to be objective and understanding, explaining that I had nothing against homosexuals, nor was I branding my beliefs on everyone else, but that I could not stand by and watch the God I knew misrepresented. She replied to that my post this morning. I opened it, rather frightened to find out if I had offended someone, or if I had to once again defend myself in an argument that was closed by defensiveness and hostility.
The post Pattie put up was heartwarming. She told me about her search for the truth in her life, and shared personal things which I felt privileged to learn about. I told her about how I came to believe what I believe. It was the most amazing exchange, where two parties have put aside hostility, and accepted differences, willing to learn from each other. I do so wish the discussions in #poetry would be such. Too often had we have to deal with minds that thought they knew it all, unwilling to admit other people's opinions, yet claiming to have an open mind. Not willing to hear another view without first trodding on everyone else. I cannot sympathise with people like that. It takes an open mind to know that we know so little. That's a beginning.
Thank you Pattie, for your kinder and gentler message. If only the world could view things like that, we would have stopped fighting ourselves, and concentrate on the many issues at hand, gaining a fuller, richer, and more vibrant knowledge of all that is around us.

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