When I was in first grade at a Catholic school, the parish priest came to talk to our class. I don’t remember the topic but I do remember raising my hand and when called upon blurting out that if the Pope would just sell all his rings he could feed the world! I was so proud of my statement but quickly realized that the priest was not. His bald head and face turned beet red and he began to stutter and quickly ended his visit. Sister What’s Her Name was not amused. Thus began a lifetime of confusion about tolerance, personal boundaries, and what I thought was love and caring. I guess Jalaludin Rumi’s quote comes closest to my personal view: Listen with ears of tolerance! (I take this to mean “I don’t care if you’re different”) See through the eyes of compassion! (I take this to mean “I hear your position”) Speak with the language of love. (I take this to mean “I care about you and I have personal boundaries that I will protect”). My simple definition: Allowing with a generous helping of care, boundary setting and protection.
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