Monday, January 05, 2015

Prejudice Uprooted Before my Very Nose

I have a late night Eucharistic adoration hour. I love it. There is something about consciousness at that hour that makes everything seem a bit sharper and a bit more profound than normal. And it's farther away from the point in the day when I am all about keeping life under my control as a homeschooling Mom and household manager.

So it was in the wee hours of this morning when I was in the chapel, praying Morning Prayer. I normally pause to include my list of people and situations for whom I regularly intercede right after the intercessions printed for the day. This morning, the intercessions included the following: "root out the prejudices which erode the depths of our humanity."

And right then and there it dawned on me that rather than generically praying these intentions for the world, I needed to pray them specifically for myself and also for my list of people and groups for whom I pray.

And then I looked up at the clock, the entire hour had flown by, and my replacement was due any moment. This was a new gent starting that time slot, and I'd never met him before. When he came in, I was struck with one thing: he smelled like cigarette smoke. But I was also struck by the fact that this one fact suddenly stood alone. Why? I was suddenly aware of a hidden prejudice I'd had, based on the whole concept of olfactory memory and all those things our primitive brains store away and kick into to our less-than-rational thought processes. People who carried that kind of smell about them triggered associations for me of addicts and the mentally ill, and so triggered feelings of danger, of fright, of the need to recoil into myself. And time was, I secured myself against these feelings with heavy layers of prideful judgment as well, to make sure The Boogie Man kept far away from me. But suddenly, all of that was clear to me. And I realized that I really new about this new person is that he smelled like smoke. And all I really thought was that it was nice to meet my new replacement.

Seems a very subtle thing, but at 3am it also is easier to see answers to prayer.

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