...is when the tunes playing inside my head,
turn out to be the LORD trying to tell me something...
Thursday, September 30, 2004
why i live here
I live in southmost Texas, right on the border with Mexico. I didn't always live here; I was born in Georgia, then lived a lot of years in Kentucky as well. The reason I now live in Texas is very simple: that's where my husband was about to move to when he and I first met.
Except he decided to hang around in Kentucky for a bit longer - long enough at least to gain himself a bride. And then we were off on a month-long, rambling honeymoon trip going to Texas.
Before we met, my husband had lived in and out of the border area for years, as well as living down in Mexico a few times. He had even spent a year in Paraguay down in South America.
Missionary work is what he did. His heart was with Spanish-speaking people - especially the people of Mexico.
When we first arrived down here in Texas, an old missionary friend of my husband let us park our little step-van on his property while we looked for a place of our own. It was while we lived there that I learned a few quick lessons.
First, that south Texas in June is hot!
Second, that the tap water down here tastes terrible.
The missionary's wife had in her kitchen a dispenser of good, cold, tasty drinking water. And she would invite me into her kitchen and offer me some of her good water to drink. But you know what? She didn't do that for the Mexicans who came by the house every day, the people that her husband worked with and pastored. She didn't invite them in her kitchen, and she didn't offer them any of her good water to drink either.
Now, she did tell me her reason for sharing her water with me - that it was because I was pregnant. (yes, that quickly - it was a very good honeymoon!) She said she was concerned that the chemicals in the water might be bad for the baby. Which sounded plausible. At first.
But then the real reason came and stared me in the face.
She wasn't sharing her water with me because I was pregnant. She was sharing her water with me because I was Anglo like her. Or to be more accurate about it, she was not sharing her water with anyone who wasn't Anglo.
She despised the Mexicans.
I never learned why she did - I never really asked. But I did pay attention to it and learn from it. I learned to be very careful and guard my thoughts and heart. After all, we had come down here to minister to the Mexican people. But how can you minister to or serve or help a people - how can you show the love of GOD to people - when you despise those people?
It's like what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13 - Love is the main gift. Without love, it's all sour, shallow, empty. Wasted effort. GOD's anointings operate through HIS love - nothing less. Without the love, it all goes haywire.
So I learned that it's a matter of guarding that love - of guarding my heart. Of watching out for thoughts that will mess with my mind, and with my attitudes.
Because it's so easy, when someone treats me bad, to get into thinking, "He's bad, and he's X color, or speaks Y language - therefore everyone who is X color or speaks Y language is bad too, just like him."
Hafta guard against thinking that way. Stay in the love, and out of the hate.
I remember the first time I saw prejudice face to face. I was twelve, and was staying with my grandparents for a few days. The first morning there, my brother and I needed to go to school, so we walked out to the road, hoping to find the bus stop.
We found it all right. Because there was my friend Sallie from school standing at the side of the road, already waiting for the bus. I hadn't known she lived so close to my grandparents. She and I stood together, chatting, till the bus came.
Oh - did I mention that Sallie was black?
At the end of the school day, when the bus dropped us all off again, and Sallie walked up the road to her house, and I walked down the driveway to my grandparents' house - it was then that I got my ugly surprise. My grandmother was waiting for me, white with fury, horrified that I had stood there at the bus stop that morning, standing so close to that, that, black girl!
Except Grandmother didn't use the word black. Grandmother used the word that continues to get Mark Twain in trouble.
I was stunned. My own grandmother? I didn't have the heart - or maybe it was the guts - to tell her that Sallie wasn't just a classmate, but was one of my closest friends.
Grandmother went on and on, ordering me not to stand there with that girl the following morning.
"But that's where the bus stop is."
Oh. Then, she amended, don't stand near her. Stand far away.
Which seemed ludicrous to me. Separate but equal bus stops?
Well, I was left with a choice to make. This was my grandmother after all; my parents had told me to obey her.
But she was wrong. I knew she was wrong.
And anyway - how could I obey her? I could picture it in my head, you know - what it would be like for me to do what Grandmother said. Standing aloof from Sallie the next morning - and the questions she would ask, wondering why I was acting that way - and I would have no answers for her. No answers that would avoid hurting her feelings - or avoid showing disrespect to my grandmother.
Really, my choice was made for me.
The next morning, I walked out to the bus stop and stood there with Sallie, chatting till the bus came. I never said a word to her about what Grandmother had said. I knew Grandmother would see and know I had disobeyed her. I wasn't looking forward to what would happen that afternoon when I got back from school.
And when I did get back...
Nothing. Nothing happened. Grandmother didn't say a thing to me about Sallie and the bus stop anymore. My parents never said anything to me about my disobedience to Grandmother either. I don't know if she ever told them, frankly.
I was amazed, though, at how well my parents had sheltered me all my life up to that point. Here I was, 12 years old, and only then finding out that my grandmother was like that. Here I am now, 31 years later, and the memory still haunts me.
Was I right, to disobey my grandmother? I think I must have been right. Love is always better than hatred.
Hi, what a nice title for your Blog!!! Why don´t you CC it? Common Creatives Licence makes a virtual copyright.Post a Comment
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