One Brick at a TimeÖ.

Moss Hill customers would frequently ask me what they should and/or should not be eating.  Having studied and practiced natural hygiene for several years at the time I could have offered many suggestions.  My answer invariably was that though I could provide them direction on the matter I would not.   

I was not about to set myself up as an authority on a subject that should be second nature to us all.  Rather than offer instruction about diet, I sought to encourage the customer to obey their own nature.   

Invariably, each customer seeking guidance on matters of diet, health, and lifestyle had already become convinced that they were not doing right in their lives at the moment.  The very fact that they sought instruction is evidence that their conscience was convicting them of wrong doing.   

No person successfully builds their life on the foundation of another.  In order to be true one must build their own foundation.  If your conscience tells you to modify behavior in any area of life you must make those changes yourself.  Rather than tell someone what they should or should not do, I would tell people to make whatever changes they already know to do.   

Be it eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, to stop smoking, to stop using drugs, to drink less alcohol, or whatever, each of us already knows what we are doing in behavior that violates what we know to be right. 

Adding more rules and regulations to an already perfectly right conscience does not serve you well.  First thing is to do what you already know is right.  Once you master that lesson you will surely be given the next lesson.   

Were I to instruct you, then I would become the voice of your conscience.  Thatís not my job.  You already know what is right and what is wrong.  Obey your own conscience and then you will be shown what to do next.  This way you lay your own foundation one brick at a time.  In the end you will be a free independent person strongly convicted of your principals. 

For as much as I assumed the role of educator, I learned as much if not more from the customers than I taught them.  One notable experience was a lesson I learned from a particularly obnoxious young man who often shopped at Moss Hill.  Iíll call him Larry.  For a couple of years he would stop in each week or so.  Sometimes Larry would shop and other times he just wanted to talk and Iíd listen. 

Larry was several years younger than me and very full of himself.  He was his biggest fan.  I could tell from his conversation that he was a bright young man.  As he often did, Larry talked constantly about himself.  He probably was lonely.  Iím sure few people could suffer his ego inflating ramblings.  Larry could have been the poster child for the self centered.

Whenever Larry walked in, Iíd brace myself for the inevitable recitation of his often confrontational monologue.  I would listen but rarely was given the chance to interject.  He was a one way street and the topic was always about him. 

This guy really bugged me.  As he would talk Iíd resist rolling my eyes and blasting him with my opinions.  One day I was particularly annoyed with Larry.  I was about to give him a piece of my mind and could have cut him to shreds.  Just as I was about to unleash my opinion, God interrupted my thoughts with these words: ďAgree with his highest opinion of himselfĒ.

What?  I was shocked but held my tongue mulling over the words spoken to my conscience.  The brilliant wisdom of God flooded me rewriting years of programming.  What harm could come from agreeing with this young man?  Would good would come from my criticism? 

Support of his ideals would bring intimacy and trust whereas criticism would surely hurt him and create distance.  No doubt Larry had alienated others.  Larry needed encouragement not condemnation.  I held my tongue in deference to the compassion my heart now held for Larry. 

I donít know what ever became of Larry.  The lesson I learned that day has stayed with me and largely governed the way I now consider others.  Agree and support people even though they may seem at the time to be outrageously self centered.  Perhaps by finding acceptance they will one day achieve the high ideals and goals within their hearts. 

Chapter 9

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