There’s a lot of talk about “tolerance” on Martin Luther King Day, but I’ve always considered that to be a negative word. To “tolerate” someone implies that they’re getting on your nerves and you should just bite your lip and do your best to ignore it. I prefer the word “celebration” – celebration of the fact that Americans of all colors and faiths are living, working and playing together wonderfully. (Unfortunately, the 2% who can’t get along with anyone get all the attention on the news.) Celebration of all we’ve conquered to bring us to where we are. Whites who took part in civil rights marches with Dr. King got bitten by dogs and cracked in the head by batons along with blacks, too. The abuses that civil rights leaders fought to end, and even slavery, could still be a reality if nobody ever fought and bled to end them.
Here’s a story about another kind of tolerance – toward someone who is difficult, different and potentially dangerous. It was published in the book Chicken Soup for the Soul – The Power of Positive. It’s called What is the Higher Response? I hope you enjoy it.