I was walking along the sidewalk in a local strip shopping center last week, on my way to the music story to buy some guitar strings. About halfway down, I came upon a young man kneeling on a prayer rug in front of his shop, facing east and bowing as he recited his prayers.
He wasn't blocking the sidewalk and I would have passed by him at a distance of about three feet, but strong within me is a sense that if you're walking and a prayer is being said, you stop until the prayer is finished. So I stood there until he finished.
He rolled up his rug, stood up and said, "Thank you, my brother."
And I said, "God bless you."
I am not recounting this vignette to emphasize my spirituality or tolerance or goodness as a person because God knows I am lacking in all three areas. Rather, I have been taught to respect other people and their beliefs and practices even though they may be different from my own. It was a telling moment, and an indication that the world has indeed come to us.