August 21, 2012 --Love

Remember I told you about Elmer?

He's been doing some work around the property (he can apparently do ANYTHING) and this morning, we went to the paint store because he's going to touch up the paint on the house and he needed supplies.

Elmer is originally from Guatemala, although he's been in this country since 1981.

The guy behind the counter took one look at him and...just... well, basically, treated him like some kind of second-class citizen.

Because that guy?  Is a racist asshat.

On the way home, I made a comment about how some people need training in customer service and Elmer told me a story.

He said, "One day, a woman was sitting in her house and Money came knocking and wanted in.  She said she needed to wait to ask her husband.  A little bit later, Health came knocking on her door and wanted in.  She said she needed to ask her family.  A third knock came on the door and Love wanted in.  Again the woman said that she needed to consult with her family.  The three went and stood by a tree.  That night, the woman told her family about the three waiting to be let in.  The husband said, "Let the Money in!"  The wife said, "Let the Health in!"  But the little girls said, "No, we must let Love in.  Because when we have love, we have everything we need."  Sure enough, they let Love in and Money and Health followed."

I think Elmer was saying that we have to live out of love first.  In the face of ugliness and insidious racism and cruelty and hatred, we have to respond out of love. "It is not our job to judge," he said. "Maybe something went wrong in his life today."

Elmer may be the richest man I know.


tanita✿davis said…
Oh, Barb. Welcome to Texas, I guess. I was wondering when you'd run into that.

At least Elmer met the incident with grace. I'm awfully sorry it even happened, and glad you could come away with... something...
Barb Matijevich said…
t--I know you must run into that kind of asshattery all the time. As women, I guess we run into something akin to it, but as a woman of color it must be ten-fold.

But this was so blatant and so RUDE. I really wanted to make a huge stink, I was so affronted. Elmer told me on the way home that to live with hatred within is to live without peace. He chooses peace.

I lived in a very rarified area of Texas when I lived there. People were very educated and very socially aware and liberal in Austin. I can't remember ever seeing blatant racism. I'm sure it exists and I probably wasn't as finely attuned to it as I am today, but still. It sure is upsetting to come face-to-face with it.
Annabanana said…
I LOVE that man, and I have never ever ever understood racism - it makes no sense to me. Everyone should have to spend time in a place where THEY are the outsider, and see how that the door to LOVE!!!!
Annabanana said…
just to be clear, I love ELMER, the other guy at the store, not so much
Barb Matijevich said…
I freely admit that I was sitting in judgment of that guy at the paint store. Elmer is more evolved than I am, to be sure.
LaDonna said…
Wow, that's beautiful. I know I haven't been around your comments much lately, but I am reading. May we all strive to be as compassionate as Elmer. I'm with you, Barb, not that evolved.
Bullwinkle said…
Yay Elmer! (Although, sorry to admit, the parable, not so much.)

"Maybe something went wrong in his life today" I say it to others and I think it for myself, but I don't quite have the non-judgemental thing down.
Holly said…
Elmer for president!
Anonymous said…
Elmer is a life teacher. So are you, btw, Barb.