Breaking Bread With a Pagan

One time, when I was quite young, I ended up staying at the park with my friends until sundown. I can’t quite place how old I was at the time, but I know I was young enough that it was unusual for me to be out so late. As the sun began to set, I noticed a woman sitting on the swings all alone. Being the curious child I was, I approached her, and ended up sitting on the swings with her.

She was certainly older than me, but as I write this, I believe she would’ve been younger than I am now. I’d wager she was somewhere between 19 and 25. She definitely looked like she was from a different neighborhood. Given my middle-class, rich suburb upbringing, I figured she was homeless, though she was probably just a punk.

As we were gently rocking in our swings, I noticed she was eating something. It was a sliced baguette from the near by grocery store, and she offered me some. I accepted a piece, and nibbled on it as we talked.

What exactly we talked about, I’m not too sure of anymore, but I do remember her telling me she was a pagan. No specification of what variety or beliefs, just “pagan”. I told her that was strange. I was Christian, and had been warned about pagans. They were devil worshipers and evil, but she certainly didn’t seem to fit that bill. Instead, she was just a nice lady sharing bread with me at the park. We spoke for short while about things I can no longer recall.

By this point, the sun had fully set. I heard my mum calling for me as she walked up to the park, so I told the nice lady that I had to go. She said she appreciated talking with me, and I left to go meet my mum.

As we walked home, I told my mum about this lady, and how she had shared her bread with me. I saved it for last that she was a pagan. My mum was understandably concerned about the whole “taking food from a stranger” part, but more annoyed than anything that on top of that she was a pagan. I asked how it was that she was so nice, and yet the exact kind of person I has been warned about in Sunday school. I don’t remember my mum’s answer anymore, but that question stuck with me over the years.

How could it be that the people I was warned about were actually just as human as me all along?

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