The craft show I worked today was fantastic. A great venue, wonderful organizers, lots of vendor support, friendly staff at the store… I could go on an on. Food trucks, pie, lovely fellow vendors… really it was a great day. The girlie and I had such a good time.
But something happened.
I was sitting there with my daughter, enjoying some music and the sunshine and the children playing under a bubble machine, when an older woman walked up and began chatting with me about the shinies. She spied my hamsa necklace (a piece by a local artist that I always wear) and asked me if it was the “Hand of God.”
“It’s a hamsa.” I explained. “Well, it depends actually. Muslims call it the Hand of Fatima, Jews call it a hamsa. It’s essentially the same symbol in either faith, good luck, averting the evil eye, all that.”
“Are you… are you a JEW?” she asked me.
“Yep.” I said, feeling a little confused but still smiling because I was not quite grokking what was happening.
She stepped back. Like straight up stepped back and recoiled visibly. “Euw.”
I blinked. “You know… it’s all good. It’s okay. We’re all related, really.”
“GOD I HOPE NOT.” she snarled, and huffed away.
I told her to have a nice day because what else are you going to say? My momma raised me right and rudeness in the face of rudeness just engenders more bad feeling.
I’d like to say that I went on with my day, just blew it off, but I were being truly honest? It still left a kind of bad feeling and it made me sad. It hurt.
Really, really, we’re all just folks here. It got me thinking about all the ways we’re finding to divide ourselves. Nationality, religion, orientation… we’re all in this together. We stand or fall, sink or swim, together. We are more alike than we are different, and it makes no sense to me for attitudes like that to persist in this day and age. I really think that our well being as a species depends on us getting it. And besides, everything I’ve ever read about most of the world’s major religions tends to lean towards “love your neighbor even if he’s not like you and tend to your own stuff.” more than “recoil in disgust from what’s different and stick your nose in other people’s choices.”
I’m going to try to let go of what happened today, remember the great stuff and just move on. Because it truly was a GREAT day.
I’m still working on it.
I really don’t feel like being enlightened or woowoo or a class act or a big person. I really just wanted to say, “Hey lady, that’s a crappy attitude. Stoppit.”
I’m just going to keep reminding myself that we are all related. And sometimes, our relations are not what we would choose. They just show up and we have to deal. But we do, always, have a choice in who we are and what we say and how we relate to the world around us in the face of them. And sometimes, we have to chew on it a bit, while we figure out what those choices look like.