Such a big word… diversity. And yet a word that I’m not sure I can even begin to understand or explain. I have been struck this weekend by the diversity in my life, and how it’s easy to “miss” it.
As I pray about Thanksgiving and the upcoming Christmas season, I’ve taken some time to reflect on the blessings of 2011. It has been a year of both diversity and adversity. And I can either focus on the adversity and be a downer, or I can look at the diversity and count my blessings.
You see, diversity is more than looking at someone’s skin color. I have met many people who are of a different “color” of skin. Looking superficially is something that we do too often. Both of others and of ourselves. Much of our adversity this year has been the result of polished, clean cut professionals who may look and sound like heros.
True diversity is what’s on the inside. It’s not just an issue of what the outside looks like, it’s what’s on the inside. This weekend I had the opportunity to sit with my neighbor and learn how to make Egg Rolls. Authentic eggrolls. But the diversity wasn’t in the cooking, it was in the conversation. We talked about what faith had looked like to her in her lifetime. Growing up in Laos meant a compeltely different worldview on faith and church. It was a great conversation and I learned so much. One thing she said to me is… “I hate it when people say… there is no hope for people in this religion or that religion, or they say they will never change. They don’t know the power of God. I know what change is.” Wow – rock my world, diverse thinking. You see, I may think that in my world, I have encountered adversity… but I have always known God. I haven’t been buddist, or muslim, or, or, or… And yet I get the privelage of sitting at the table with a dear group of people who know diversity in a way I could never understand.
And then we began talking about her home country and her family. The heart that she has for her people and what she has experienced and they are experiencing… that’s adversity. My 2011 holds nothing compared to what other “non-westerners” go through as a part of normal life…
As I reflect tonight and pary into how I can better have eyes to see true diversity and adversity, I’m reminded of a “moment” I had with God while we were in Cancun last February. The verse he set on my heart was Isaiah 30:21
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
So, my challenge in adversity is to continue to move forward in faith, and to pray for Ears to hear God calling me and then be obedient when he speaks. Just as I had ears to hear completely differently yesterday when the language spoken was so different I couldn’t identify one word…. when he prompted me to ask hard questions and my reality was shook by the responses I heard. Lord… give me ears to hear…