So I went to this coffee shop this morning, ordered my latte and bagel, sat down at the only table that was open, and pulled out my copy of the Tao Te Ching. A few minutes in, I start to notice the two groups of people I’m sitting between getting a little loud. I look up from my book and see one of the groups staring at me. I shrug, go back to reading and brush it off.
Then I notice the staring group’s topic of interest. They’re a prayer group. So is the other group, but they can’t see my book. One of the people from the staring group finally leans over and says, “What are you reading there, miss?” I tell him, and he says, “You know that’s one of the Devil’s books, don’t you? You should try this one instead. This book will bring you religious truth, not lies.” And he holds out a little bible.
I look him dead in the eye and I say, “What makes you think I’m reading this in a religious context? I’m reading this book because I want to, not because I want religious guidance. I’ve read the bible before, I was raised on it. I know it and I appreciate its message. So thanks, but no thanks. I’m good.”
This proceeds into the whole group trying to tell me there can be no other reason for reading such a book than for religious guidance, and that I am falling into a trap of Satan. I proceed to ignore them, which doesn’t do a damn thing.
Finally, I’m about to just walk out when this little man from the other prayer group hobbles over and says, “Would you all just shut it? Have any of you even read the Tao before? It is a very wise and spiritually calming book, even if you don’t believe the spiritual context. She’s a nice girl, and all you are going to do is drive her away with your Satan talk. Leave her alone.” He then proceeded not only to apologize for the other group, but invited me to talk with his group about the Tao for a while.
A really bad morning turn into an enlightening discussion and a moment of appreciation and hope.