Monday, April 29, 2013


As a slight addendum to my earlier post, I found a quote in the American Airlines magazine that rang true in my life:

"Travel is fatal to prejudice and bigotry and narrow-mindedness" Mark Twain

Travelling has really helped to open my mind and expand my world view. It has allowed me to put in context cultural differences and freedoms. It has challenged me as I 'pity' some and are 'jealous' of other cultures. It has helped me re-think about what is truly important to us.

And I know that not all of you are built as I am. I know that many of you think it's crazy that I want to see all that I can see. Many of you might look at me and wonder - "why can't that girl be happy to stay here - she has it so good". And I know that others whom have the same desires may not have the courage. There very well might be some thinking "I wish I could do what she does and just pick up to travel the world" or "I wish I had travelling partners like Juliane has found - she doesn't know how lucky she has it". I am sure there are others who think "you go girl!" and are so proud of who I have become and the adventurous spirit that was born within me (I know mom and dad can attest to that one)!

And it doesn't matter which side of the fence or which fence post you are sitting on. That is the beauty of this world - we all have different likes and dislikes. We are called to love each other, be gentle with each other and respect each other. If we were all travelers, who would stay home and look after us? If were all stayed home, who would have found this beautiful country that we live in?

But for me - travel has been fatal to my prejudices. I am much less opinionated than I was 20 years ago. It has challenged my bigotry and filled my heart so full with a love for others. As I have been the one with broken French, two Spanish words which I often forgot and blurted French out instead or have had to resort to pointing and poor hand signals - I have so appreciated another persons grace. As I am noticeably different, have endured the stares and pointing and the token pictures as the 'white girl', I realized what it is like to be different. As I struggle to ensure I am not insulting anyone by not sharing food or cleaning my plate or not cleaning my plate or bowing too low or not low enough - I pray that they recognize that I am trying my hardest not to offend and extend mercy on my ignorance.

And so the message is true for all of us - don't let our narrow world view create prejudices and bigot thinking. Let us not allow our world, whatever that might look like, to create judgement and self-righteousness. I challenge you to not be quick to judge our first nations people. I challenge you to see past the beautiful chocolate and caramel skin. I challenge you to look past the broken English. See them as they were created - in the likeness of our Father.

Yes, we may not love how our country has allowed these people to earn more money than our hard working senior citizens trying to survive on a pension but that isn't the individuals fault. We may dislike that they are serving us in our country without understanding our language but someone hired them to do a job that we have turned our noses up at. We may not understand their deep rooted religious beliefs around dress but that is all they know.

We are so fortunate to live in a culture (Canada and the US) which is such a melting pot of people. So as you run into people who look different, speak different or act different, let's get to know them for who they are. Appreciate that they too are often trying to do what's best for their family. That they, much like our ancestors, were looking for that "perfect society" in which we can find freedom, equality and an ability to live their faith.

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