There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
We sit at the campfire and talk, freshly caught trout, cleaned, seasoned and clamped into the basket over the flames, hot chocolates in our hands. We talk, and we laugh, and we wonder at the stars because here in the north country, we can see the stars winding away in a wide path more like a sparkling, spiraling yellow-brick road, silvery-white rather, and leading not to an emerald city but to mystery and marvel, to a universe of possibility. We talk.
He is a middle son from Mississippi. Five older siblings, six younger, twelve kids altogether. We talk about the dinner table, the nicknames, the chores, the escape from snakes and swamp and prejudice. He makes me laugh at the chicken story. With a family that size, everyone gets their own part of the chicken. His part is the neck. He says he thinks he would have grown taller, stronger, bigger if he'd gotten a part with a little more meat. He was, after all, a 12-pound baby and now, at 30, he only tops out at six feet.
I think it might not be his size that is affected, but perhaps his patience. I see it with the fishing line when it becomes hopelessly tangled in my reel. I see it in his watching and waiting, line in the water, hooks dangling, hands loose and ready to feel the slightest of tugs. Ready to react. I also see it when he stops by the bar on his way home from work. He orders a beer and sits with it, watching the currents of people who ebb and flow through the room. Sits with it, nursing it, slow smile loose and ready to feel the slightest of tugs. I hear it in his words, in a slow Mississippi drawl that comes out just a little bit muddy sometimes, but worth the listen because he speaks wisdom . Wisdom from navigating the pale waters of Phoenix in his skin of brown. He is a reader of people.
We talk about families and marriage and my heart skips a beat because I have considered marriage to this man. But even though I feel I am somewhat progressive in my thinking, in my living, I am old-fashioned in the asking. I will not ask him. Asking is not mine to do.
I am surprised at the campfire. He tells me I would not be accepted by his family because of my white skin and my white ways. He tells me his mother would eat me alive. I smile. It is not a smile leading to laughter, but a smile of humble. Of rue. How entitled of me; I had never considered my acceptance to his family; I had only anticipated the reactions of mine.
Heavenly Father, you have helped me to see through different eyes and I understand. Help me to bridge the gap between understanding and doing, between recognizing and welcoming. Help me to help. Continue to pull veils from my eyes so that I can see your Kingdom.