I am a white girl, who grew up in a poor family. My dad worked construction, and of course we had to move where the work was. There were many times that my dad decided he would go to another state to work and send money back to us, just so we would not have to change schools. There was a time when we lived in a tent, but my dad did not allow us to go to school in dirty clothes. I remember the heartbreak of being in junior high and not wanting to make friends because, I did not want them to know I did not have a home. I would actually go eat in the bathroom to avoid being made fun of. It was a devastatingly difficult time. As I grew up, I rejected religion, yet was oddly fascinated by it. I tried it all, new age, Buddhism, Hinduism, Spiritualism etc. It was not until I turned 19 that I decided Christianity was the path for me. Jesus was the main reason for my decision. He did not judge, he preached love of all and he came for everyone! He accepted all! All.
As I have continued my journey, I have come to realize that everyone has their path, and I love listening to their stories. I love sitting a talking with those who believe differently from me, so that I can better understand where they are coming from. What they have been through. How they overcame whatever it was they went through in their lives. You see, America is pretty cool that way. We have come from different places around the world. We celebrate culture and diversity. We celebrate being different. At least, that is what I thought until lately. But maybe it has not changed. If I and all of us, have been shaped by our past, that means that we can learn from our mistakes as a nation. This means, that instead of becoming more divisive, we can come together in peace, love, and unity despite our political agendas or religious preferences. It means that we can find common ground.
It seems to me that we as believers in Higher Power or those who believe in humanity, have all been taught something similar: to welcome the stranger. To practice a hospitality so radical that it means to extend our hand and hearts to those who are in need. This does not change in any religious belief. It is common ground.
Today, I am close to my family, and understand all they went through to make sure we had what we needed. I am married to a wonderful man, have three wonderful kids, and run a not for profit. Sounds pretty perfect, but far from it! Here, I will be real, but will also choose to see the good.
I implore everyone to seek facts and not fake news. To meet others different from you, and to extend your hand to ALL. We do not know everyone’s stories, but we can learn to listen.