After a full day of playing with Legos, Matchbox Cars, Wii, and various outdoor toys, the time had come for Owen’s best friend, Alex, to go home. As we entered the van for the fourteen mile drive, Alex chose to sit in the far reaches, the very back seat – because providing additional challenges in a conversation can make it extra interesting, right? As I chatted with Alex over the expanse of empty seats, our conversations flowed easily, especially considering Alex is only five years old and doesn’t really know me very well. We were, however, trying our best to listen to each other over the noise of both the engine and the road.
When Alex told me he was learning Spanish, my curiosity was piqued. See, Alex is Asian – but beyond knowing THAT, I have no idea what Alex’s heritage is, so the following conversation ensued:
Me (trying to peer into the rear view mirror to occasionally establish eye contact): That’s really cool that you’re learning Spanish, Alex. What is your ancestry?
Alex (pausing, not quite sure of the meaning of the word): Ummmm ….. I don’t know.
Me (trying to help him out with both an explanation and a prompt): Ancestry means lineage or where your parents and grandparents came from. Are you Korean?
Alex (quickly): No.
Me: Are you Chinese?
Me: Are you Vietnamese?
Me (now floundering as I was running out of options): Japanese?
[Since Alex was so sure these options were not part of his ancestry, it struck me that Alex might KNOW his ancestry and I need only quit prompting him. So I continued my line of questions in a new manner:]
Me: If none of those are part of your lineage, then what ARE you, Alex?
[Alex’s reply was quick as a wink and sure as a boy could be, causing me to really hear his answer.]
Alex (simply): I’m normal.
Pause for consideration, Reader. How do you see YOURself? It occurs to me that we all too often view our differences in a manner that set us apart from others, in both a positive and negative manner. If you’re seated across from a potential employer in a job interview, that may be a necessity to secure employment. More often, however, we need to look for commonalities that enable us to be ONE with each other. At the tender age of five, Alex seemed to understand that commonalities make for both a confident person and a more peaceful community. Additionally, it is what Christ calls us to do.
1 Cor 12: 24-26: But God has so composed the body … 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
Are you normal, Reader? It IS a more excellent way!