Sunday, August 19, 2007
Made in God's Image
Recently I was reading something that really opened my eyes. I was reading a blog that referred to a certain group of people as "spics" and very obviously meant it in a quite hateful manner. For those of you not familiar with racist terms, this is an extremely derogatory term for Hispanics. And for those of you who do not know...I am Hispanic. Now it's not unusual for me to hear such terms, and while I detest racism with a passion, I also do my best to not take it as a direct attack against me or my family. But this was different. This time, the words came from someone who used to be a close friend of mine. Momentarily, I felt physically ill and also felt as though someone had punched me in the stomach. This was someone who used to be my friend, who I used to hang out with, someone who I could call and chat with about anything. And here was this person being hateful against my culture, my heritage, where I come from...being hateful against me. And unfortunately, this was not something I was oblivious to with this person, as I can recall a conversation in which he absolutely refused to acknowledge that I was Hispanic. He told me that he would only see me as a white person. Being as naive as I can be, I truly thought that I could change him by being a light for Christ and so I developed a good friendship with him to try and be that example. But eventually I realized that only God can change a person. And after awhile, God showed me that the friendship was not healthy and I needed to "leave." And so I did. It's been a year since that friendship has ended, so I certainly did not think such a derogatory comment would make me feel the way it did. However, I did say momentarily. It was just a moment. I told myself, "consider the source" and stopped reading. I told Wes about what I read and he reminded me that this person hates himself and as a result, that hatred is spilled towards other people. And the thing is, Wes is not the only person to remind me of that. Another friend of mine, who also is former friends with this person, has reminded me of that as well.
I was hurt, but the moment was fleeting. I looked at pictures of my family and smiled. My parents, my siblings, my aunts and uncles, and my grandparents...my wonderful Hispanic family. Yes, I am part Irish and I love that background in me as well. After all, how many Irish-Bolivians do you meet? The closest I could find was the actor Henry Ian Cusick who is Scottish-Peruvian. We're "neighbors" on both accounts. It really is quite a random, but fun, combination. Bolivia is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I remember so much of it from my 3 week trip with my grandfather and uncle. I am madly in love with that country. Of course it has its downfalls, but the landscape, the people, the food...that's where my family is from. I loved it when my grandfather, now passed away, would sit with me and Wes and tell us stories from when he was a little boy, which really fascinated Wes since the stories usually included llamas. :) So it baffles me how anyone can be so hateful against such "richness." I was hurt. But the moment was fleeting.
Today at church, the message reminded all of us that we are created in the image of God. This person, the one who feels so hateful against anyone not white, is created in the image of God. And he desperately needs salvation (which has always been a very hard topic of conversation with him since he really believes he is a Christian). And after yesterday's fleeting moment, today's sermon really nailed it in for me....I am created in the image of God. God knew what He was doing when He formed me in my mother's womb. It wasn't a random accident, some horrible mistake, that He chose a Bolivian woman to give birth to me. It wasn't some awful circumstance that He chose a Puerto Rican man to be the husband my mom needed and the father I needed. I am surrounded by Hispanic people in my family. We are one heck of a crazy bunch. And my Hispanic background has sometimes left me utterly confused when I am with Wes' family...who is most definitely not Hispanic. LOL My goodness, it's even completely foreign to me (no pun intended) to have a Thanksgiving meal that does not include some Bolivian food. The first time I had Thanksgiving dinner with Wes' family, I was confused. I looked at the table and thought to myself "well this is strange....." Where was the falso conejo? Where was the huminta? Where were the empanadas, the salteñas? How wonderful to have such diversity in my own family that I could wonder such things!!! This is where God placed me!!! God made me in His image...He saw that it was good...and He said "I know the perfect place for you!" He never promised me that I wouldn't face racism. I have faced it, and I'm sure I'll face it again in the future. But what an awesome reminder this morning...I, my crazy Hispanic self, am made in God's image. No ignorant derogatory word can ever strip me of that magnificent privilege.
Hello, my name is Mary, I am Hispanic...and I am made in God's image.