My Reflections on America The Beautiful

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I'm not usually particularly political or preachy (say that 5 times fast) in the realm of social media. Actually, anyone who knows me well knows that I tend to avoid conversations and issues surrounding race. But all that background is a testimony for a different day. Today, my heart is stirred by all of this conversation on Coca Cola's America the Beautiful commercial and, this time, I've got some words:

I'm half black and half white. Raised by a white mother who grew up in an all white community and a black father who tended to see racial issues everywhere. He often warned me that I would be treated differently, and growing up in the age that I did, I often thought he was being overly dramatic and paranoid. I wish I were right. 

I'm a half black girl, married to a full white guy. Together we have a quarter black baby. I have passion for international missions and a heart for international adoption. I worked full time as an ELL teacher with immigrants, some African refugees, but mostly from Mexico and other Hispanic countries. In my {what I perceive as relatively limited} experience, I have encountered numerous unfortunate comments from people. I have been the recipient of racist comments myself - not often, but always from people I could only describe as ignorant. Brian and I have received idiotic comments and questions about our interracial marriage. More commonly, I have heard countless opinions on why international missions are ridiculous and how they misuse time and money. Often I have been disappointed in the people I hear these comments from.  These same people tend to be anti-international adoption for the same reasons. And then don't even get me started on the IGNORANT comments made about Hispanic immigrants - assumptions on their legal status or judgements on cultural differences. You've GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. How has our society come to be so pompous? Talk about "forgetting where you came from." You've heard the "we're all immigrants" speech. I won't go there. 

But I digress. My goal today is not to preach on acceptance, but to share a little bit of my heart. 

Five years ago I was blessed with the awesome opportunity to take a mission trip to Austria. I remember participating in a worship service and being so choked up I couldn't help but cry. I'm not a big crier - especially during worship - it's just not my thing. But I remember being SO overwhelmed with the beauty of hearing some of my favorite worship songs sung, with such passion and love, in a language I didn't understand at all. I felt almost unworthy of experiencing this beautiful display of creation. I felt small - if that makes sense. Small in the sense that God's creation is SO BIG, and I'm just one little English speaking American, used to my little cliche American church experience. But who am I? 

The other day in church, Marc preached about this verse: What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (James 4:14). 


So that brings me {closer} to my point: My favorite thing about God is his immense display of creativity in Creation. {Hence the name, I guess!}. Seriously! Think about it!

Did you know there are between 6,000 and 8,000 spoken languages? According to Joshua Project, there are 16,845 people groups in the world! That is a LOT of variety! I can't even come up with different color palettes for the rooms in my HOUSE (brown, brown, brown). Each of these groups has a different combinations of languages, traditions, beliefs, music, dress, and FOOD!

If I can step outside of myself for just a moment. Forget that we are NOT the center of the world. That we are NOT the "right" culture and that we don't have to be so isolated and "supreme" in our thinking. When I stop to embrace the minuscule, nearly insignificant "mist" that is me… when I take a moment to ATTEMPT to comprehend that the vastness of God's creation… the detail and variety… THAT is when I am most humbled and amazed by His creation. That is when I feel the true sense of the word "awesome." That's also when I can feel SUPREMELY blessed and grateful for any opportunity I have to interact with the world outside of my little bubble. To me, these small moments - when I get to experience a culture outside of my own - are a gift. They're a glimpse of the immense love and value God obviously invested in every detail of His work. 

And then, when I hear comments degrading those other cultures, and their "interference" in our apparently supreme society, it makes me sad. I'm sad that there are people out there who are going to live their ENTIRE LIVES never experiencing the INDESCRIBABLE BEAUTY that God bestowed in the the world around us.

I know I'll never have enough time to experience every culture. But if I could I would hear every language, taste every food, dance on every shore. That may sound cheesy and dramatic, but it's so true. We're missing out, people. And we're running out of time.

And that's all I have to say about that.

A highlight of my travels: A Masai children's dance competition.

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