Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What I'm Chewing On

This summer I feel like I've become an avid reader. I read the 4 Twilight books, then "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert, and most recently I've finished "Same Kind of Different As Me" by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.


And this was one book that I didn't want to read. 

I read a bazillion reviews, talked to lots of friends and family members, and even googled the story to find a reason not to like it or that would turn me away. Surprisingly, not one person said anything negative about the book.  Under hundreds of scrutinizing eyes, every review seemed to glow in admiration. And yes the story looked grand and inspiring, but what could I possibly have in common with a wealthy art dealer and a homeless man that grew up working on a plantation? 

A lot. 

This book touched me in a way that I hoped it would not. I hated that I found myself relating to certain characters and caring about the homeless in Dallas. I didn't want to be encouraged to believe in the homeless more. Or to see that they could be trusted and empowered to change a city. I didn't want to see a homeless man become a part of a wealthy white family. I didn't want to see a husband and a wife serving alongside the poor every day, taking them out to coffee, celebrating their birthdays, and taking them on camping trips. Or fixing their hair, clipping their fingernails or washing their feet. 

So what is it about this inspiring, gut-wrenching, overcoming, and compassionate story that made me want to hate it so much?

It's because it made me uncomfortable. Challenged my "status quo." Showed me love that I wasn't yet ready for. 

"Same Kind of Different As Me" casted doubts on my present "need" for comfort. The story blurred the lines of what it means to be poor or to be rich. And it scared me because in some ways, I feel as if the former describes me better. 

I'm not Deborah or Ron Hall. I don't want to go serve dinner several nights a week, or have to give up my free time to be around men and women that smell bad and drink. I want to sit in my den or on my porch, watching television, reading books or making crafts. I want to be comfortable. 

But Ron and Deborah sacrificed their comfort. And an entire city changed for the better because of that sacrifice. All because 

they

just

cared. 


I want to live a dream that's bigger than me. I want to care so much that it changes a city. I want to be more comfortable in an unfamiliar place because I've become convinced of my purpose on this earth. I want to be a dreamer. To have compassion beyond comprehension. That inspires the masses and moves people out of complacency. I too, want to just care. 

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