This past Saturday, I was pleased to attend a party to celebrate with a new graduate from Sheridan College — congratulations, Ashley!
It was enjoyable to have the chance to visit with many of her family and other friends that I knew growing up in the “neighborhood.”
A most interesting conversation that day was among a small group of people: great aunts and grandmothers and cousins and other friends who were adults when I was young, at a table outside.
The sunshine and light breeze kept our spirits high and the beauty of the surroundings was a suitable attraction to keep anyone from taking offense to the free-flowing conversation.
We talked about religion and beliefs, acceptance of beliefs different than our own and recognition that our beliefs can change as we accumulate life experiences and wisdom. We talked about Heaven and who and how.
And it was fun! Nobody interrupted, nobody took offense and everyone was truly listening.
But I expect the most memorable comment came from one of the persons involved in the conversation, when she said “I’ve never done this before.
“I’ve had conversations about religion and beliefs, but never sitting around a table at a party!”
The occurrence of this conversation has been on my mind all week. Why don’t we have these open and polite conversations about our beliefs more often?
To honor Ashley and other graduates, I’ve gathered a few inspirational quotations from Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), the American poet, author, philosopher and abolitionist.
• If I am not I, who will be?
• Not only must we be good, but we must also be good for something.
• What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
• Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.
• It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
• Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.
• It is never too late to give up our prejudices.
• Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
• The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest.
• The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.
Roger Sanders is the Sheridan Unitarian Universalist Fellowship’s representative to the Sheridan Ministerial Association.