Friday, July 24, 2009

Supply and Demand

Yesterday, as I watched a woman boarding the bus, I had an insight about the endless supply of trespass and the universal demand for forgiveness.

The woman dropped a coin as she was getting her ticket. The coin hit the floor and unfortunately rolled right out the door. She didn't realize it, but she as searched in vain for it then dug in her pocketbook for another coin, she was inconveniencing every person already on the bus with the delay. Or was she?

It occurred to me while watching this scene that, in fact, the inconvenience, or trespass, if you will, may or may not have been felt by the other passengers. Some passengers--nodding off, looking out the window or reading--hadn't even noticed. Others who were in no hurry were not inconvenienced because it caused them no delay. The more I thought about it, the more apparent it became to me that inconvenience, trespass or insult can only be perceived by those who are already so disposed to feel that way.

In other words, the injury I am caused by someone else's action or inaction is entirely self-inflicted. By ignoring the situation or simply by turning away, I can avoid the needless self-mutilation that such thoughts bring about. Or, even better, I could realize that such trespasses against me are worthy of forgiveness so that those against whom I trespass unwittingly every hour of every day may choose to forgive me as well.


valgal said...

or one could have given her a coin to make things easier for her all concerned...

bc said...

"forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us..."