Once I had finished gorging pancakes on Fat Tuesday, I had to get ready for Lent. Forty days wandering and wondering in the wilderness of soul-searching requires the right gear. Sack cloth? Check. Ashes? Check. Stick? Check. Pocketful of locusts? Check. Cell phone? Of course, not. Map? I wish.
If all one needed for such a journey were the trappings of remorse, repentance, mindfulness, simplicity, forgiveness and some other good intentions, then it would be like many a short trip. What was gained could be put briefly on the back of a postcard. But the journey should not be that easy–it is not a vacation, more a vocation.
Amongst the paths I am taking in the ‘wilderness’ is the one pointing towards intolerant. They say “Misery loves company”. Well, so does intolerance. (Though, not what spurred me, I can imagine a few intolerant radio talk-show hosts feeling a little lonely this morning.) So, for a good few weeks, I will suggest that both intolerance and miserableness try to find other playmates. Potatoes need about 90-120 days to grow, so 40 days is hardly time to raise some shoots.
But, I need to be careful, though, I suspect that even with care, misunderstanding will occur. Of what am I being intolerant?
Blatant unfairness, for one. Wanton discrimination, for another. Blind adherence to positions that really reveal a desire to hold on to ‘power’ and control over others, is also in there. Intolerance of those ‘talking about doing’ rather than ‘getting it done’, is in there, too. The contents could fill a large bag–and I live somewhere that taxes stores if they have to dispense bags to customers, so I must remember to carry my own–but I wont try to trudge around with too heavy a load.
This wont be easy, and it shouldn’t be. Though the intention is to give intolerance little air to breathe, I suspect that I will run the danger of taking in some of that air–it’s a tricky balance. I suspect that the distance I may want to keep from miserableness may find me peering at it around a corner.