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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

More Trucks than Cars and Finding Home

Elyse invited someone to a country music concert the other day.  It gave me pause and a smile.  I'm guessing that someone who grew up in posh southern California does not expect to spend an evening in "Nashville-West" central California with the redneck descendant of a Wyoming cattle ranching family. This should be interesting.

By Alexandre Buisse (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
As I pondered this on my way home from work today, I turned north onto the back road. My surroundings progressively shifted to windmills, ranch land, and more trucks than cars-- and my stress fell away. I'm most comfortable in the familiar. I spend my work days surrounded by poverty and gang affiliations. I've stopped wearing my wedding and anniversary rings to work. I've stopped going out to lunch there too; an experience that Elyse had, while picking up lunch for us, has scared us straight.  We pack lunches now.

I struggle to see the face of God in the parents of the children that I serve. Their lives are different from mine. Their values and guiding tenets come from a different place.  None of them grew up on stories of cattle ranching in winter and damming the Snake River with the family oxen so that Jackson's Hole, Wyoming, could be born. (Yes, we still call it that.)

We share a human story though. We share a God.  And so I struggle.  I struggle to temper with good sense my efforts to put away fear.  I grapple with finding common ground and serving without resentment. I wrestle with my biases to see the face of God in faces that have confronted experiences that I have been shielded from. I do not know the end of this story, but I suspect that I have been placed here to find my way through it.

Nevertheless, as farmland gradually surrounds me, and an old man waves to me from a green tractor, I allow myself to sigh deeply and settle into gratitude to be home.  Perhaps I will learn to find home and family fully in the faces of all of God's children, -but not entirely just yet.  Perhaps that is the coveted outcome of a lifelong journey.

Pax Christi dear ones,

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