Entering Through The Exit..

..or something like that.  You slogged through my morning rant  – thank you.  In return I give you one of my more embarrassing moments to underscore the importance of paying attention to the details, even if you are a ‘big picture’ kinda person.

Whenever I visited our offices in London, I stayed on the same floor, followed the same path to and from the elevators, the coffee-room, the loo.  I knew how to get access to the stairwells for every so often, physical exercise took priority over waiting for the lift with a cup of takeaway from Cafe Nero in hand.  Fair enough..

Until the one visit when I was sitting on the eighth floor.  I was next door to one of our DC associates who had recently transferred to the UK.  We would chat on and off during my week’s stay – he was a great young man with a rockin’ sense of humor and mischief.  Each day, I followed the same route that I knew – the floors were rectangular – eventually you’d get where you needed to be even if you have no sense of direction (I was born without this gene).

You know where this is going – all week, I visited the men’s room instead of the ladies.  I saw the urinal, which struck me as somewhat different from the ladies’ on the other floor, but thought little else about it.  I never saw another person while I was in there, though I did hear hand washing (a good sign I always think).  Friday morning, I thought I’d make one quick visit before leaving for the airport.  And I saw the little symbol that is universally known for ‘men’.  I ran back to my office and asked my US pal, if he had been watching me go to the wrong loo all week.  He of course busted out laughing, acknowledging that he had been waiting for me to put my glasses on and realize what I was doing.  I wish I could tell you that my mortification lasted for a long time – but he was laughing so hard and this was so typical of me – I just shook my head, blushing.   Little did I know this would become a local story in the London office for years to come, and someone routinely placed a large sign on the ladies’ room door when I was in town – bless their heart.  Don’t tell me you’ve never done something like that – of course you have, right?  Right?

Stand By Me

There has been some activity about a YouTube video that was recently posted showing the murder of a Mideastern woman named Najibia.  I haven’t seen the clip – my cowardice and horror renders me incapable of watching it.  That said, I have been told that it reveals members of the Taliban cheering and supporting her husband as he repeatedly shot her in the back of the head.  His reason?  Her ‘crime’?  There are no reasons one can conceive of;  there was no crime, for there was no mention of a trial.  To carry my sorrow one step farther, this murder was committed in the name of a religion.  It’s important to note up front that this isn’t a diatribe about the Taliban, one specific culture, etc.  It is about the reiterative chorus in the face of unspeakable acts as justifiable by religious belief.

I’m not sufficiently well-versed to write about religion.  My spiritual view is both simplistic and I’m sure there are those who feel I am wrong.  I know of no religion that isn’t predicated on love, grace and humanity.  I am not suggesting that there isn’t significant brutality in religious and global history – though each example underscores a lesson that we were intended to learn and can’t seem to permanently absorb.  We keep repeating ourselves.  Whether acts of cruelty are defined as acceptable by gender, sect, interpretation – we watch as people continue to be brutally killed, forced to act against their will, hearts mutilated by memories.

I don’t have answers – I can feel inadequate in my corner of the world, consciously ensuring that I walk gently on this earth and embrace love as a spiritual expectation that I honor.  And I know it isn’t enough.  I have to consider ways to do more.  And I have to remember that without hope, there’d be no miracle of another sunrise and another opportunity.

You may remember this video as part of a documentary “Playing For Change – Peace Through Music”.  It lifts us up to look in the mirror and see the best reflection of ourselves, it underscores that we are all composing this song as we go along.  And though we may not read from the same notes, love is as universal as ignorance.  And there perhaps is where God resides – in the longings of our heart.