We become a part of everyone we interact with.

Three of us were walking on campus, chatting away.  A street lamp was on my side of the sidewalk.  I was going to quickly cut around it.  I stopped, said “oh you can’t split the pole”.  I went on to explain I learned that from some girls I had in Circle. 

I said I honor my African-American Sisters, by keeping that superstition, (for lack of a better word).  I can’t remember why they said you can’t split, but it was important to them.  So I stopped splitting when I walk in groups.  I guess it’s like not going under a ladder.  Hey if you are reading this and know more, will you let me know.

So back to my two walking partners, after I darted back around the street lamp, so we all passed the same side.  One of the guys said, “that validates my theory: 

 “we become a part of everyone we meet.  A little piece of each person stays with us.”

Cool beans, for me.  I agreed.

I don’t put food on the floor anymore.  Someone told me that was a religious or cultural value.  Our food is such a gift, we should not dishonor it with being placed on the floor.  Cool, I dig that.  It helps me remember who planted the potatoes for my french fries.  I have had to quiet my judgemental mind.  I see someone put food on the floor . . . I think it, don’t say anything.

A recent conversation with someone working in my building.  She works for an architect, we chat in passing.  She asked me what I had going on for the day.  “Oh, I’m helping a victim and an offender talk, she was drunk, he was on his motorcycle, she left him there”.  I didn’t get far into explaining this and the look of shock on her face. 

I forgot I was talking outside of my usual network.  I started to minimize the task.  She complimented me, thanked me for doing this work.  I shruggeed her off, “oh I love it, its no big deal”.  She point blank and deeply asked “how do you not take those things home with you”.

The moment on campus flashed back to me.  The colleague that said : we become a part of everyone we meet.

I went on to explain that there is so much hope in doing this work. 

I found myself thinking about this later.  I decided it was even more important to help people find their own humanity, to discover their own spiritual response to crime and conflict.  To leave a part of me with them.  Then I had a shift in my friends comment.

We don’t become a part of everyone we meet, we already are.