Yesterday, I spoke with an atheist. I called him out of the blue to ask for his and to get a sense of direction about a new community service venture I am trying to launch. In the beginning of the call, he was very guarded and inpatient. He even accused me of trying to manipulate him.
The interesting thing about his accusation is that prior to contacting him I was working on an essay on the topic of manipulation for a class I am completing on a faith-based public service effort in the town where I am living. As a person who believes in God and in miraculous events, I just naturally assumed that this man had been blessed with the gift of spiritual awareness and that he had somehow tapped into what I had been doing prior to my call to him. I was delighted by his insight and I told him so. The minute I shared my feelings with him he seemed to soften. His voice inflection completely changed, and so did his treatment of me. He became warm and responsive.
We must have been on the phone for close to 45 minutes. I asked him many questions and he unconditionally, and without any reservation what-so-ever, gave me a whole lot of information that I considered invaluable. We brainstormed and he opened up to me as if we had known one another for quite some time prior to my contacting him. The transformation in his demeanor was nothing short of a miracle.
This man, although a non-believer was so generous and thoughtful. He was candid, yet, sensitive when he had to set me straight on a couple of issues I was totally mistaken about. I really enjoyed the time I spent with him and felt fully refreshed after I hung up because of his straightforward approach and his honesty with me.
I was hoping to find someone who would care about my project. It never dawned on me that God would put me on this man’s path, but he did. For whatever the reason, he wanted me to hear what this man, above all others (believers) I could have spoken with, had to say.
I often ask myself why is it that some of us have so much faith in a Divine Being and others seem to have none. I used to think it is because those that refuse to believe are somehow insensitive or callous and their hearts have become hard. Yesterdays encounter however, turned my thinking completely around. Out of all the calls I made and all the numerous messages I left (and there were many) this gentleman, was the only one to put so much time and attention into helping me advance toward my cause.
After speaking with him for a while, I came to realize that this man had some of the challenges I am trying to modify. My random phone call to him had brought me face-to-face with my target population. In fact, he was exactly the type of person I am attempting to serve.
I had to pause a moment to understand the true significance of our phone meeting. I believe that God wanted me to learn a lesson about diversity. He wanted me to understand that although we are all made from his vision, we are all unique and special in our own right. I think that he wanted me to remember that just because I do not have the same beliefs as someone else, and even though they may not believe in him, they are still his child and I should envision all non-believers as such.
By the time we said our goodbyes this man had so endeared himself to me that I could not refrain from saying something loving before I hung up. I ended our conversation with a heartfelt verbal gesture of sincere appreciation by saying the words, “God Bless You” to which he promptly and sincerely, replied “Thank you!”
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