Our normal is dichotomy. We define who we are in distinction from who or what we are not. It’s the way we were born. The way we learned to discern our place in the world. I am distinct from my mother. I am one with my fingers and toes. They are me.
Who is me? The list of ways I may distinguish myself is long and growing longer:
homed or homeless
white or non-white
wealthy or impoverished
introverted or extroverted
middle western or northeastern/southern/western
traditional or non-traditional
teacher or learner
adult or child
scientist or artist
thinker or do-er
churched or non-churched
female or male
sporty or sport-free
English-speaking or non-English speaking
American or world-citizen
married or single/divorced/widowed
young or old
free or bound/confined/constrained
my places of most growth are places of “opposition.”
As a person with a home,
I learn the most about patterns of need
from the homeless.
As a person with white skin,
I learn the most about patterns of racial discrimination
from persons with non-white skin colors.
As a person with wealth,
I learn the most about patterns of poverty
from persons who live in poverty.
The same holds true for every condition I can list.
And more I have left off the list I am sure.
What I know is this:
those who are different from me, distant from me, or distinct from me, hold the key to my growing in faith, in courage, in knowledge, in understanding, in action, in intention, and in truth.
I owe it to myself to get to know them.