Sunday, February 21, 2010

Inns, Barns...Vacancies?

I was never part of the in-crowd. Shucks, I'm was lucky to be a part of any crowd----besides the crowd that was my huge family. I was raised in a southern town when integration was in full swing. My parents were (and I quote here) "Nigger lovers." I didn't call them that. That's what other adults (and some peers) called them. We didn't endear ourselves to lots of groups (like churches, social clubs, non-integrated anything really.) On a deep/core level, I never ever questioned my parents' beliefs that all people should have an equal opportunity for.....well, everything. I wonder why that caused so many people to distance themselves from us?
What was wrong with loving all of God's people? Why did that separate us and and divide us? Because of the stance my parents took, the no-vacancy sign at the Inn went up right away. We were different. The implication was, "Maybe you would fit-in better out back in the barn--you know, the stable." (Anybody visualizing a star in the East yet?)
Even though I guess I knew I didn't have a fighting chance of being in, during puberty, I tried my mighty-est to still wiggle my way into being accepted. I sewed designer labels into my homemade clothes, did my hair right , and learned cheers even though I couldn't jump. The bottom line: There was simply no room for me in the Inn-Crowd. Every time my parents allowed our few black friends to enter in the front door, join us for lunch at our dining room table, and (God Forbid!) ride in the front seat beside us, the flashing neon "No rooms" sign came alive.
Isn't it interesting that born right smack dab into the middle of my life is this son who will never ever really fit in and for whom we have had to fight so hard for equal treatment? Nobody ever has to actually say, (and I quote here) "retard", but the separation is there---or could be. The difference is is that Taylor has never suffered from rejection. He has not suffered from being left out. He's way too "knowing" to suffer from anything so foolish. I, on the other hand, am not as smart as he. I have chosen to suffer.
I've gotten my feelings hurt. I've cried and pitched fits. But, as I've gotten older and wiser, I'm liking it out behind the Inn (crowd) with its authentic smells and goings-on. I've always sort of had a thing for those who are willing to shepherd others and tend their own flocks. And, besides that, I've got wise men (and women) visiting me now. After all, you are here, aren't you? And, like Taylor (and me!) you've come to this life bearing gold. Oh! Oh. Star of Wonder.....Are you singing yet? Please....just one verse wherever you are. Offer, to this life, the gold you bring.