I suppose I should not be surprised by negative reactions to what people think I have become. They have been fed a constant diet for a quarter of a century painting this path as something strange, alien, other.
To us, this is the path of the humble and kind, the truthful and sincere, who care for the poor and vulnerable. To us, it is the path of those who feed the poor, clothe the destitute, provide shelter for the homeless.
We believe it is the path of those that look after orphans, who walk humbly on the earth, who spend their wealth in the service of others. The way of those who forgive and have mercy.
But this is not what they have heard. All they have heard is of terrorists, warmongers, grooming gangs, drug dealers, domestic violence, forced marriages, people traffickers, oppression, autocracy, arrogance, conceit.
For me, it is difficult to comprehend such a skewed picture of the path we walk. I feel sad that even learned people seem to think this way. But the incomprehension is mutual; they cannot understand my adherence to this path at all, given all they know to be true. It doesn’t seem to fit my personality at all.
And so, I suppose, this is where we part ways. There is too much to unpick here, too much to unravel. To me my way, to them theirs. For us, this is the way of those striving to build a safe and healthy world. But, alas, it has been marketed as the complete opposite. Not as the path of the enlightened, but as an irrational, backwards way of life.
No wonder they turn away, shaking their heads.