The Conversation

“I have a little bit of god in me and a little bit of the devil.” 

I raised my eyebrows. “Really?” 

He smiled and continued on. “We are all part of god, don’t you see. The ants, the trees, the jaguars, everything.” 

“So there is no real difference between me and the little ants crawling by this tree?” I asked, pointing to the line of ants marching towards the eucalyptus tree. 

My friend responded quickly, “Well, yes. The ants don’t murder each other. This is the problem with us humans. We can’t agree about anything and we end up killing each other. It’s terrible.” 

“Oh” I said “I thought you said life was beautiful.” 

“It is,” he replied, looking at me with a glint in his eye. “Everything we call pain, or disaster, or evil, is just an opportunity to learn and become better people. That’s all I want to do. Walk my path, learn from others and be a better person.” 

I took a deep breath and gathered my thoughts as my sparring partner turned to attend to a customer. Thirty seconds and he was back. 

“To be a better person don’t you think you ought to live according to what is true?” 

He smiled again and quickly retorted, “Truth is relative. What matters is living according to what you think is true. And don’t force your truth on others. You can’t change anybody anyways.” 

“But that’s just your truth. No-one else has to live by your truth, right?” I smirked a bit and felt a little too smug. 

“Right!” My friend smiled back. “That’s just what I think. It’s true for me. But what do I know? In the end all we can really know is nothing. We can’t be sure of anything.”  

I leaned back against the metal pole next to his stand and gave him a quizzical look. “Then why do you keep reading all these books and studying different religions and philosophies?” 

“I’m looking for knowledge. I have an open mind, you see. Not like most the Catholics in this country who believe whatever tradition tells them.” 

“Oh, well, every person has his own truth, right?” 

“Of course,” he agreed, “I’m not judging anyone. I’m just living my truth; living free. And you know what, I’m happy. That’s what matters in the end.” 

At this point I was getting a headache, either from his fast-paced Spanish or his lack of logic, so I attempted to bring the conversation to an end. 

“I think you are trying to hold contradictory beliefs. For example, you say you don’t want to be one of those closed-minded, ignorant people, but at the same time, you admit that all we can really know is nothing, and we just have to listen to what our mind tells us. Do you see how that doesn’t make much sense?” 

“But that is who I am.” he answered, with a big smile. “I’m a contradiction. And if you think I am crazy, then I guess I’m crazy. But I am happy with who I am.” 

“But the real question is: Is God happy with you?” 

He laughed. “I don’t care what God thinks. I don’ t believe in God.” 

I grinned. “See you next Monday,” I said.

As I passed by the fruit and veggies stand and made by exit from the flea market, I wondered how one reasons with someone who doesn’t hold to logic. “Maybe you don’t,” I thought, and I said a silent prayer as I made my way down the main street.

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