“Everyone thinks I am weird!” I swept the kitchen floor late that night and cried.
The house was silent except for the small sounds of slumbering. I hung up my broom and restlessly moved around the living room, straightening a pillow, putting away a few forgotten pieces of laundry. I switched off the last lamp. The streetlight shone its lonely light onto the hardwood floor, and I cried.
People were kind, oh so kind, more than I deserved. Yet I felt myself torn between cultures, not part of either, but suspended between in a painful stretch.
When I am with my birth culture, I feel their kindness, their goodness, and yet I feel the undercurrent of suspicion–that I am not really part of what I called “Us” for so long. I am slowly edged out of things I always did with these people I love.
When I am with the people in my town, I also feel their kindness, their gentleness to the stranger. But I know that I am an oddity to them. I wonder, do these people know that I have thoughts, feelings, desires? That I long to sit on their porches and laugh and chat with them like old friends? Do I seem like a real person to Them?
I thought all these things and more, and cried.
I went to bed with the cry stuck in my heart. And in the darkness, the answer came. A strange answer; so often the Spirit speaks in riddles. I heard it clearly: Love one another.
Love one another. How could that be the answer? Love hurts, and many times it spills onto the pavement, a wasted sacrifice. How could love help me leap the gap that felt so impassable? I pondered the mystery, and thought of the perfect love that came to earth two thousand years ago. Christ’s love ran red on Calvary, and this is what He said:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
John 13:34 (ESV)
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13:35 (ESV)
And I began to wonder if the formidable barriers named “Us” and “Them” were only vapor-thin, vanishing in the warmth of the Father’s love. If poured-out love was not a wasted sacrifice but a holy offering. If the only way to feel part of the huge human family was to love, and love, and love again.
Love one another as I have loved you.
Love one another.