At the young age of 55 years, I have come to the realization that no matter how hard I try to love and live at peace with my fellowmen, there will always be someone, somewhere who refuses to reciprocate my acts of kindness towards humanity.
I am not so naive to believe that everyone that I cross paths with on this pilgrim journey will want to befriend me. There will be those whom I will be able to name as true friends. There will be those who will befriend me just because it is in their nature to be polite and cordial, but the reality is that we may never be considered “true friends.” And, there are those who will dislike me, or dare I say, hate me – just because. Their dislike or hatred of me does not have to be a racial or prejudicial issue, or because they do not like the way I look, talk, act, or dress. But rather, they have determined in their finite minds that they will refuse to like me or accept me for who I am – simply because – no reason or explanation ever offered on their part.
However, it doesn’t really matter. I can accept that because I realize that people are who they are, and regardless of how a person chooses to treat me, I am forever reminded that the Savior taught that I am to love all men – Black or White, rich or poor, bond or free – and even those who reject me and spitefully use me.
I learned a long time ago that you cannot fight the fires of hatred by continuing to fuel the fire by adding more logs of hatred. Instead, we have to learn to continually douse the fire with the healing waters of brotherly kindness, love, understanding, and compassion. If we are resolved to put out the fires of hatred around us, then one day even the tiny glowing embers will soon smolder.
I have also learned to accept the sweet taste of kind words and accolades, as well as the bitter dregs of negativism and disdainful and disparaging remarks from those who do not like the idea that I will not play into their hand and be their puppet on a string, or play their game by becoming a literal pawn on their proverbial chess board.
By the grace of Almighty God, I am who I am, and I make this formal declaration that I will not today, will not tomorrow, or any other day as long as God continues to allow me to draw breath, bow down and become subservient and apologize to any man for who I am, what I believe in, or what I stand for. To be loved or hated is a part of mastering this life, and I pray that I am ready to handle both.
Keith Lionel Brown © 2014