A World of Diversity

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 Posted by Katie

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“The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky

Are also on the faces, of people going by…

…and I think to myself, what a wonderful world!”

Wonderful. That’s how my world seemed as a little kid. I had no complaints. For the most part, I always had what I needed, people treated me well, and I felt that I belonged. I knew that there were people who didn’t have what they needed, who weren’t treated well, and who felt or were made to feel that they didn’t belong. I knew this, but I didn’t see it, really. That just wasn’t my world.

When I was 13, however, my “worldview” began to take on a dramatic change. That was the year that my Dad’s job took us to Cartagena, Colombia. That was the year I saw raw poverty up close and in person. Many people in the old city were not only in need, but were so desperate that they were known to cut off their own appendages in order to solicit more pity when they begged. This included children.

While we had some wonderful neighbors who welcomed us to their country with great hospitality, we also found quite a few folks who were not too fond of the white American family who had moved in. Some neighbors threw rocks at us, from several stories above, as we swam in the neighborhood pool. Genuine kidnapping threats were made against my siblings and I, as well as the kids from other American families who made the move with us. True danger and violence became a part of my world.

I had never known what it was like to walk down the street and feel so out of place. My skin and hair color were so obviously different from those around me, that I couldn’t disappear into a crowd. I had never known the desire to want to hide that part of me, until I was treated poorly because of my appearance. And I remember, at times, being prompted by my parents to tell strangers who asked, that we were Canadian. My folks hoped to help us avoid further discrimination and Canadians were treated decidedly better. But I wasn’t Canadian. And I wasn’t Colombian. I wasn’t like everyone else. I didn’t belong.

I had never seen this world. Yet, this world was as real and present as the one I had left behind in the States. And that’s just the thing. We all live in our own worlds. Unfortunately for us, sometimes we sinners make decisions based only on what we can see. And if we don’t embrace diversity, we don’t really see the world.

While we may feel like we each live in different worlds, there is One who sees the whole world in His hands. He is Truth. He is light. He is life. And perhaps if we focus our energies on truly seeing Him, then the rest of the world, in all its diversity, will come into focus. We will see how to provide for each other, how to love and forgive, and we will know with certainty, that we will always belong…to Him.

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