Why I Sometimes Don't Get You, America

It happened today, on a regular Friday afternoon. I was mindlessly scrolling through my social media when I saw it. And I have to be honest. Five years ago it probably wouldn't have bothered me so much. Before I moved overseas and chose to walk among the poor, some things just weren't on my radar as much.

They tried to warn me it would be like this, this returning to America. That I wasn’t just a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. That I was becoming more like a rhombus-type blob who would strain to fit inside a perfectly manicured star. It just doesn’t work.

I feared you, America. I feared that I wouldn't understand your values or your people. I feared that you wouldn’t accept the way the world had changed me, the way I felt as a young mother watching as another young mother scrounged through my kids’ soggy forgotten cereal just so she could make it through another day. I feared an afternoon like this.

Today, when I saw that dress, that thing that broke the Internet, something broke inside of me. Please know that I really don’t care if you spent your lunch hour debating the colors of the dress. That doesn’t offend me! The science behind it is actually quite fascinating. This isn’t about one dress or one trivial conversation. But it might be about people and their enigmatic existence.

People died today. In Asia. In the Middle East. In my city and yours. We didn't talk about it. Women and children worked in brothels, slept on the streets, and died without knowing that God is their Refuge. We didn’t talk about it. 

We debated the colors of a dress instead. When we wanted to bring these things up, we were silenced. When we wanted to speak up for those who were unable to defend themselves, we were asked to wait for five more minutes.

I don’t get you sometimes, America. 

I don’t get the rhetoric. I want to talk about reaching people that don’t know Jesus. You want to talk about bombing them or condemning them. You question my patriotism simply because I dare to love another country and its citizens. You question my allegiance and my sanity because I long to see past the colors of my flag and look ever toward the kaleidoscope of the Kingdom.

I want to talk about sex trafficking and poverty and all the things that don’t give us butterflies in our guts. You want me to focus on the positive and the love and could I please pass the remote control? 

I love you, America. It’s your beautiful Church that sent us out five years ago. It’s your wonderfully generous people who enable us to shower the people of Asia with God’s love and grace each day.

I want to talk with you. I want to engage. I want to dare to believe that you can see past your borders, past your own fears, past your unknown prejudices, and rise up.

This world needs you, America. This family needs you to be kind to us while we grapple with coming “home”, whether or not we care about the colors of a dress.

*Chime in, please! What about you? There will always be tough issues to tackle, especially for people of faith.

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