Monday, May 11, 2009

Page 139

It was on page 139 that a tear finally hit the page of a new book (Same Kind of Different as Me)I had just picked up the day before. Up until that point, reading about the modern day slaves and the life of an International art dealer had merely peaked my curiosity. A few of the stories even had my eyes a bit misty. But it was page 139 that made my heart ache.

Even as I look at the page, I can see just in the corner a small stain that soaked it's way into the next 3 pages. I should have taken it as a sign of what was to follow because for the next 107 pages my I went from misty eyed to weeping and back every few pages. As the tear soaked into the pages, the words of the modern day slave turned hobo began soaking into me.

'A lotta times while I was out there, I'd see a shootin star burn across the black sky, bright one minute and gone the next. Ever time I seen one, seemed like it was gon' fall all the way to the ground, and I couldn't understand why I never could see where it went...The Word says God put ever star in the heavens and even give ever one of em a name. If one of em was gon' fall out the sky, that was up to Him, too. Maybe we can't see where it's gon wind up, but He can. .... And I found out that sometimes we just have to accept the things we don't understand.'

There is a saying that goes around that "I need Africa more than Africa needs me." and I thought about this when I read his words in the book. I thought about the rooted prejudice that keeps my mind from believing that a homeless, black slave would have something so profound to say. The same prejudice that I try to keep out of my mind, but yet it camps there and rears it's ugly head from time to time. I thought about this man, who once was considered the lowest of low, was doing more to help others in those few sentences than many will do in a lifetime. This is a man that can see life through new eyes and lives on a faith that can move mountains and who am I to think that he knows nothing.

Prejudice has been on my mind for quite some time now. I don't call people of a different color by slang names or tell jokes mocking them. I pray for all people of any color. But I've realized in the last few weeks that prejudice is still a part of my life and not because of anybody else but myself.

The other day, I took Aleeyah out to play in the lawn of our complex. There was a little Asian girl playing also. They had such a wonderful time. Neither one of them knew what the other one was saying, but it didn't matter because running, playing follow the leader, and giggling required no words. But yet, I felt content with just smiling at her mom-knowing that I would only get frustrated trying to understand while feeling bad that I was so impatient.

We watched Slumdog Millionaire just a few days prior to Compassion sending another group of bloggers to India. As the people sat at small stations being paid very little for their work of answering the calls of agitated people having problems with their electronics, I thought of the many times I wanted to curse during or after making one of those calls myself. It's frustrating when the language barrier keeps you from getting something accomplished. And I loose patience once again and my brain goes where it shouldn't go.

All to often, I glance at the beggars sign-wondering if he really wants to WORK for food or if he just heard the local station talking about how much money one can make for standing on the street corners. I wonder if their drinking and drug addiction put them there. Nevermind the cause of the addiction, but one thing is for sure-my money won't be going to support such an addiction. And I drive right on past him.

Is it easier on your heart to hear of a fire, tornado, or hurricane hit an area that "needs to be condemned anyway"? Is it easier to flip the channel when the news is talking about a young, black man being shot in the city? I mean he was probably getting into some kind of trouble...right? What about when we are devastated by 1 plane crash in the US when there is an equivalent of 180 planes crashing each and every day when you look at how many children die each day from preventable causes?

I don't know why God allowed such misunderstanding of each other and why some have completely followed in a path of hate and anger against someone who looks different than they do, but I also see that just as Denver Moore said, 'sometimes we just have to accept the things we don't understand'. To accept something we understand a situation but do not attempt to change it, protest, or exit. I'm not saying we should sit back and let poverty happen, but what we should accept is God's plan and His calling to us to help them.

Would we understand the level of compassion, faith, mercy, and love that comes with loving someone different than yourself if there weren't any slaves--slaves of man, slaves of anger, slaves of poverty, etc ? This isn't to say that we I wish bad things on good people so that we can grow, but that God is using us for a purpose.

It would prejudice of me to think because of the color of your skin or the items that you possess that you aren't doing anything or even say that you aren't doing enough. Only you know truly what you give and what you feel is enough is up to you and Him.

I've learned about the devastation in poverty, but also the faith and contentment in the hearts of the poor. I want more of that faith and contentment in my life. I'm beginning to see that the only way I'm going to get that is if I truly give of myself out of love and let God take every ounce of prejudice from my heart.

What are some of the organizations you are a part of to help those who God calls us to help? Use Mr. Linky below to link to as many organizations as you would like to share. Use the name of the organization and their website to leave a link. This will make it anonymous, but if you want us to know more of your personal story with the organization-leave a comment.


GinSpaghetti said...

I knew you'd love this book!!! :) It's one of my top 5's easily. I found myself writing down some of Denver's words for inspiration. What a wonderful story!!!

Juli Jarvis said...

Really good post Abbie! And I love the look here -- I usually read it in my feedreader and don't necessary click all the way through to the blog itself. Very nice! It's exactly the kind of look I was trying to find! You have great taste...

Ben, Kelly and Sophie said...

Okay, I am not reading this post b/c I'm about to read that book, and I don't want to go into it with any preconcieved notions. But I wanted to tell you that I'm sorry I never got around to putting info on my blog about your new organization... it really sounds amazing and I'm so proud of you for the work you're doing for God! Maybe one of these days I'll manage to get it on my blog.

Jodi Hughes said...

Thank you for posting a review of “Same Kind of Different as Me.” I work with Thomas Nelson, and we would love to follow your blog and hear what readers think of this exciting book. I also want to let you know that Ron and Denver have just released a new book “What Difference Do It Make?” which updates readers on their activity since the last book came out. Please contact me if you are interested in receiving a complimentary copy of the new book for review on your site.


Jodi Hughes

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