But this last time brought something that has stayed with me. I figured I'd pass it on, because maybe it might stay with some of you as well. We were in a B&B in a quaint small town; the proprietor of the place was proclaimed as a gracious and welcoming hostess. On the last morning of our stay there, she stopped by our breakfast table to ask where we were heading next. "Sligo" we replied, naming a town north of there.
Her face screwed up in a sneer, and she said in derision, "SLIGO? Why would you want to go THERE?" Not joking, mind you. She was quite serious.
We smiled politely, and Leon answered very easily that we saw it as a nice launch pad to see several other sights and places. But that's not the point.
What if we LOVED Sligo? What if we had dear family members who lived there and we relished being there? And, more importantly - why did she feel the need to weigh in with her own opinion?? Why would we care what she thought?
In today's culture, there is a trend toward people feeling the need to give their own 2 cents about everything. A friend might say they're going to see the new X-Men movie: do you tell them they won't like it and not to bother? A neighbor plants peonies in her front yard: do you make sure she knows YOU don't like peonies?
In seminary, we were encouraged to use a neutral reply for most occasions; though I err at times, I try for the most part to stick to that. It isn't necessary for folks to know what I think about everything. Somewhere along the way ( "Like" buttons on Facebook? Twitter responses to live reality shows?) we have come to believe that EVERYONE is entitled to our opinions. And really, more times than not, our opinions are just that: ours. And opinions, not eternal truths.
Next time someone tells you that they're fixing rhubarb pie for dessert, and you hate rhubarb - so what? :-)