Pentecost 176

Pentecost 176
My Proverbs 26

Them vs. Us

The blond teenager could play piano and oboe and had a delightful smile and beautiful face. Her tall, lithe body was the envy of fashion models. Yet she felt alone. Moving to a different part of the country from her native upper Midwest, she knew her classmates considered her an outsider. Her senior year was going to be lonely.

The little girl came running inside with tears streaming down her face. “Mommy! Mommy!” Jessica said I can’t play with them because I’m too dark!” She took the cookie her mother gave her and slowly walked to her room to play paper-dolls all by herself … again.

She had been so excited when she found out she was pregnant. However, taking a day off to go shopping with a best friend, making it a whole day’s adventure with lunch out and lots of giggles and planning, had proven disappointing. Finding clothes for her proud Nordic build was not easy. Reluctantly she left the clothing stores and went to a fabric store and looked at patterns and fabrics.

He had bravely enlisted voluntarily even though the nation was in the throes of a losing war halfway around the world. The number of casualties was staggering but he loved his country and was not going to let fear stop him. He looked forward to becoming part of a “band of brothers” but when he arrived, he got the same hassling for his bright red hair that his childhood peers had given him. What happened to spirit de corps?

He gained notoriety and popularity by becoming the first of his “color” to win such an election. Thing was, calling him by that designated skin color meant the other half of his heritage was being ignored. Why did he need to claim one over the other? What was wrong with being a mix, plaid, diverse in one body?

Genealogy had been an interest but researching his own family tree had led to some startling and yet not surprising facts. He proudly embraced his newfound ethnicity, finally understanding where the dark curly hair had come from and devotion to duty that was historically prominent in the culture of his ancestors. Returning home from the country of his family centuries ago, he proudly showed the flag he had purchased. Then he quietly folded it up. Hanging it outside his house would lead to harassment and, most likely, property damage. His pride would have to remain in the cedar chest.

I once lived next door to a family who were most active in a group that discriminated harshly against those who were not “pure”, not “white”, not “like them”. The neighbors had four adult children, none of whom had the same color hair, the same build, the same marital status, or the same number of freckles (I did not count but I am certain that is a true statement.). They harassed us for “being different” and yet they themselves were different. I had to explain to an eight-year-old daughter that they had killed her pet rabbits because her skin, like mine, was darker than they thought acceptable.

There is no country that is free from discrimination. There has never been any culture that did not discriminate. No need today to point at the United States and Ferguson, Missouri. The actions there are shameful but that either have been repeated or are being repeating everywhere on this planet. So if you are going to point a finger, point it at your own face, the face of your country, religion, group. At some point, every culture, every faith has been persecuted.

It is never about “them” and “us”. Everybody at some time is a “them”. What we need to realize is that we are all “us”. I pray today that we, all of mankind, wake up and realize that. Mankind is like a really big litter of retriever puppies – all colors, heights, weights. Both the Creator and evolution love diversity. Just look around; you’ll see what I mean.

Every living thing has value. Somewhere, you are a “them” and I love you because of that and in spite of that. Violence and sarcasm does not do justice to the potential of man nor grief over the death of a person or a legal decision. Remember that, please, and pray to your Supreme Source that we all learn to live as “us”.

My Proverb 26

We need to use our hands for kindness, see with our hearts, share the love of all spiritualities, religions, and reason for being.

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