I trust everyone. It’s the devil inside them I don’t trust. (Stella from The Italian Job)
Walking along the streets of Cairo makes for an interesting day. Dodging cars, praying my toes aren’t crushed by mopeds, seeing misspelled signs and trying to avoid the weird guy selling who knows what is a skill. A decade in the Middle East has given me some tough skin and the ability to say no to any peddler no matter how cute. (Unless, of course, it’s something I actually want.)
The other day found me trudging through the streets to my neighborhood cell phone place because of an issue. As I made my way, there was an area of sidewalk that was actually walkable. Alhumdullah! (Praise the Lord!) So I carefully slid around parked cars working really hard at not getting my clothes any dirtier than they already were. (It’s hot and dusty, so I’m always sweaty and dirty.)
And then I had a choice. I could practically crawl under a very beautiful but very low hanging tree, or I could walk in front of the guy saying his prayers on the sidewalk. Here’s the catch, I know that if I walk in front of that man, he will have to start his prayers all over.
The conversation in my head went something like this:
I’m new in this city. No one here knows me yet. I could just walk in front of him. It’s easier and faster and safer.
But I’m trying to develop relationships in my neighborhood. Arabs have long memories. And I know this isn’t nice.
He really needs to be praying to Jesus anyway.
But he doesn’t know that.
And he won’t know that I chose not to walk in front of him so what does it matter?
But I’ll know. And it’s rude. It’s not showing love at all.
In the end, I bent down and kind of crawl/walked under the tree behind the man. He never looked at me, didn’t even know of the fight going on inside of me.
But I knew. And for that moment, good overcame the evil in my heart.
He may never know it, but I showed him love. And really showed the love and respect that I have for all Muslims. What is love if it doesn’t cost me something?