The middle-aged woman who sat next to me in the jeep.

This morning, the woman next to me in the jeep looked like a church lay worker: Long hair in a simple pony tail, plain blouse and skirt, neat in an almost severe way. Even her voice, when she hailed the driver to stop, sounded deferential, well-meaning and pious.

I could think of several religious stereotypes and begun applying them to her. And then I thought that was really mean of me. She seemed genuinely nice, if perpetually anxious. Like God still does not approve of her simple life, no matter how much self-denial she did (which would never be enough).

I don’t know her. Could I even see the world from her perspective? Does she even allow herself that bit of pride to think she has a perspective? Even when I was religious, I was not too religious. It was always partly for show; mostly, it was a show for myself. I wonder what a truly religious person’s inner life is like.