Niagara Gazette — Two things happened to me around Christmas this year that reminded me that we cannot have peace on Earth unless we learn to have respect for each other’s cultures.
I say ‘cultures,’ because expecting people to have respect for each of the six-billion individuals with whom we share this planet is not just impossible, it is also the epitome of self-centeredness; and that is preclusive of both respect and of peace.
I cherish the many friends that I have made around the globe, as well as the experiences that they have given me in their home nations, and I appreciate every opportunity that I have to make them feel welcome in our country.
The truth is, our country is rapidly becoming their country too — and that is all right by me.
One of the things that recently happened to me was that as I was rooting around the Family Dollar store on Pine Avenue on Christmas Eve, greeting those who passed me in the aisleways, I encountered what appeared to be a Jamaican-Canadian woman and her two daughters, and I shared a laugh or two with them.
As I began to depart, she felt so at ease with me that she summoned me back and gave to me a small religious tract to read. It was about creating a happy family. She was a Jehovah’s Witness, I gladly accepted the well-written and better-illustrated piece of literature, and she beamed with joy as I thanked her for giving it to me.
On that same day, I received electronic messages from two foreign-born friends of mine. Both of these friends were Muslim; one born in India and the other in what he lovingly refers to as Palestine. Both were wishing me a Merry Christmas. It warmed my heart.