The Norman Transcript

April 13, 2013

We should converse with our neighbors

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

Re: The Heart of the Matter

Don’t we all wonder with every issue that is brought to our attention what is at the heart of the matter? As we live our days from potty times to brushing our teeth, from opening to shutting the doors of our lives, isn’t there always that stimulating question at the foundation of our consciousness: “What’s it all about?”

Now that I visit with some of our Muslim and Hindu and Buddhist townsfolk, they are not those “other” people anymore like we Okies used to consider “Texans.” They are we and we are they. We share in the “humus” of our “humanity,” the ground in which we grow by the breath of life. We are in the garden together and each of us blooms our contribution to the “walk of blossoms.”

Whether we be from a different denomination of Christianity or a different world religion or universal unitarians or walk the walk of our own spirituality, why is it so hard sometimes for us to feel that we are in this life quest together? I think it is because we rarely talk “with” one another rather than “to” or “at” one another.

OK, if we were sports competitors could we visit without having to win? Do we have to “beat” the other team, religion, church or political party?

Imagine what we would learn if we tried to learn from our opposites or from a person from a different town or country?

Older folk around Norman have told me they used to leave their farm house doors unlocked 75 years ago when they were out of the house in the field or driving to the shop for salt and pepper miles away. Why? Because they knew that others traveling on the old dirt roads might need a place to stop in to use their “johnny” or get water or call for an emergency.

Hmmm, that wouldn’t be advisable today but it does say something about caring for the “other,” even before you know them.

Remember how many of us got to know Amgad Mohammad after 9/11 when I went over to the local mosque to invite them to our community prayer meeting when one of you asked if I was going to? He and I became friends then and our conversating about our differences led us to our samenesses and then continued with many of you he met, and that made all the difference in our worlds.

How often do we leave our box and go next door to share the heart of the matter or even just to say, “Hi neighbor?”

Joe Ted Miller


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