Monday, June 7, 2010

Good Conversation

I was washing my hands in a BYU bathroom today when the guy next to me asked if I was a Sikh--he'd noticed my kara, apparently, and recognized it. I told him I wasn't, but that my grandfather had been raised Sikh and I had a deep respect for the tradition. Then I asked him how he knew Sikhs. He said he'd met a few during his military service. Then he told me how he respected Guru Nanak's teachings about the oneness of God (he quoted the Guru's famous line "There is no Hindu; there is no Muslim"), about family, and about service. We had a good talk.

He went off again to study and I went off again to work.

And now I'm left thinking: the people who sit in authority and enforce rules here are apparently too busy to look up what a Sikh is, but the guy in the bathroom is always asking questions of the people around him and, as a result, has learned to see little details more deeply than others see.

And I take hope in the idea that all over the world there are people like this guy who are interested in and open to the stories others carry inside.

1 comment:

  1. Hi James, this does sound like an interesting conversation!

    I'm in a BYU class right now with Professor Gideon Burton studying new media and identity. Dr. Burton was pretty excited to show me your blogs because your whole project relates really well with some of my ideas about this. I don't pretend to be an expert at all, but as I've done some research, it seems that online mediums, such as blogs, allow people to emphasize or even experiment with different identities, but this multiplicity of identity really lends itself to the creation of a deeper, more unified sense of self.

    You have three separate blogs, each emphasizing a different identity: religious, academic, and ethnic or familial. But as I read these blogs, I am able to understand how these identities aggregate together to form a whole, more singular identity. Would you say that is how you consider your project? Would you say your identities are kept separate, or do unify with each other?

    Thanks so much for these blogs; they have really helped me out and I'll be sure to keep reading! Here's my blog for my ENGL 295 class looking at some of these things, if you are interested:

    By the way, Kira is adorable. I played wedding all the time as a little girl, but never in the midst of such diversity! How fun!


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