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.
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