Love and Diversity

This is a two-topic post, so if you are bored with the first one, check on down and see if you like the second topic any better.

I have started to write a post for this page several times and each time deleted it, imagine several crumpled up pieces of paper thrown across the room, hurray for the digital age.  Actually, the ease of writing is one of the very few things that I personally enjoy about living in the modern world.  Otherwise, I think I was born in the wrong century.

Most times, I begin with an apology for not having written in so long.  However, I have decided that would be disingenuous of me, since I refuse to be a slave to the art of writing.  You may be sure that if I have something to say, I will say it. Otherwise, I think it is probably best if I say nothing.  Although, I have been tempted to write about what is going on around the world, or even in the US; I will refrain, at least for now, from writing about something with which I am not personally dealing with.

The last thing I wish to do is propagate a topic that riles people up towards hatred.  I don’t understand hatred of that nature.  I can fully understand hatred of a sin and what it does to a person.  The person who sins must never, ever be hated however.  As an example, I can hate liquor when my husband becomes a slave to it in the form of alcoholism.  I don’t hate my husband, just what it makes him do when he is inebriated.  We need to stop hating the person.  We might not even hate the thing itself; but whatever we do; we need to stop hating people.

Most people excuse themselves by saying that they are worried about the person’s soul and ultimate destination, as in hell.  Personally, that concerns me quite a lot.  I think about it night and day, and many times cry myself to sleep at night when I think of the millions of people who might end up in hell.  Should I have been more vocal on the evils of the sins thereof?  But then I think of my sons.  If I believe they are going to hell from the sin they are committing, what do I do?  I know that by nagging at them, I am in fact pushing them closer to the gates of hell.  The only thing I can do is love them.  Love them into the Kingdom of Heaven.  Love is the only thing that will draw them away from the gates of hell.  Because I well know that the pleasures of the flesh are too strong for me to compete against.  Reason has nothing to do with it.  People don’t sin because of a reasoned thought process.  They sin because it provides them with a crutch or simply because it feels good.  Period.  Just think for one minute about all of the people who still smoke, even though I don’t think anyone alive nowadays can be ignorant of lung cancer. I am not saying that smoking is a sin. I am just showing that it serves no purpose, other than to bring discord and break-up relationships, to reason with the person who is sinning.

Just to be clear, let us define sin.  In your own house, you have a set of rules that you and your family must abide by in order to live in your house. By the same token, God has set up a number of rules. Contrary to us, however, His rules are not capricious, they are set up for our own good and the good of mankind and the universe.  So, any time that we break one of His rules, that is a sin.  It doesn’t matter if we agree, it doesn’t even matter if a law is passed allowing it, because God never changes.  He is the same from the beginning of creation until the end.  The Alpha and the Omega. He has always known the end from the very beginning, so nothing comes as a surprise to Him. His laws are eternal, and unbreakable.  Our opinions don’t enter into the matter.

So then, how do we persuade our loved ones to follow His laws?  We can’t.  Love, real God-like love, is the answer.  Instead of hounding them and sermonizing, I believe prayer to be a better use of our time.  God can do things that we cannot even imagine in order to bring our loved ones into a right relationship with Him.  Sometimes it is actually us, with our meddling, who are stopping Him from moving in the lives of our loved ones.  Now that is a sobering thought.

 

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I am the kind of person who loves diversity.  I love that there are hundreds, even thousands of different kinds of butterflies, of birds, of dogs, of cats, of flowers, of food, and of people.  Diversity is good.  Otherwise, imagine if you were only allowed to eat hotdogs for the rest of your life.  I don’t hate hotdogs, but I can’t even remember the last time I ate one, because I really don’t like them that much.

What I don’t see any reason for is the amount of hate between the races.  It doesn’t happen with any other species, only with people.  Imagine if the tulip hurled a racial slur against the rose?  What would it even be?  Maybe something about being thorny?  When you think about it, the tulip has every right to feel sore at the rose since not many people send tulips as gifts.  I wonder how many people who read this will buy tulips the next time they think of buying roses.  Personally my favorite flower has always been the carnation.  I remember telling someone that when I was a child, a teacher I think, and the response I got was one of disgust telling me that the carnation was a very base flower, not worthy of being anyone’s favorite flower.  I thought that over and decided that was a shabby thing to say and it only solidified my love for the carnation even more.

As far as ethnic diversity, I am a prime example of the human mutt.  Since I have never really fit in, I never thought the same way as my fellow classmates, and couldn’t understand why they thought the way they did, I began early on to think that there must be some reason I was so different.  I blamed it on something in my blood, or rather heritage, which lit the flame deep within me of a burning desire to study my family tree.

At first glance, my father is 100% Norwegian, while my mother is 50% Swedish, 25% English and the other 25% is Irish and German Dutch (Prussian).  However, when I began delving into my genealogy, the truth was somewhat more diverse.  I was most proud to learn that one of my great-grandmothers was an indigenous person from the Sami tribe (vulgarly known as the Lapps).  I was also interested to find out that I have enough Jewish blood in me to make me a candidate for one of the German concentration camps during WWII.  In fact, my ancestors who I took my pen last name of Gørbitz from, were Jewish.  I am happy to say that they are not my only Jewish ancestors either.

I love that I am so diverse ethnically.   It is no wonder that I am who I am, when I have so many genetic pools from which to draw.  I will say, however, that when I went to visit my relatives in Norway, my father has eight first cousins who live there; there was a healing deep within me.  It was as if a chasm inside of me was closed up and made whole.  I felt that I had come home, at last.  My cousins (second cousins) and I spoke of it when we found that we had quite a lot more in common than we would have supposed.  One of the older cousins told me that I was the spit-n-image of my Sami great-grandmother; they told me that none of the other grandchildren looked as much like her as I did.  They couldn’t have understood what a great compliment they had paid me, not because of her character, but because of her indigenous heritage.

I already knew a lot about her, she was a family legend, although I know next to nothing about her husband, a non-Sami Norwegian.  She was a matriarch in every sense of the word, as her daughter told me that she ruled her family with an iron grip.  The family frequently speaks of her, while her good-looking husband is never mentioned.  This may be the result of her having outlived him by twenty years, as more of the family can remember her.   She was the Christian leader of her community, hosting the majority of services in her own home, even so far as being its main preacher for many years.  It is said that the day she turned ninety, she walked five miles barefoot in the snow.  This did not kill her, as she lived another six years.   As you can see, I am very proud of my heritage and I have only told you a very little of all that I have learned.

I am appalled that some people would rather not know from whence they come and even wish that we were all of one race.  I find that to be a very boring idea.   Imagine if the only flower in existence were the carnation.  That would teach my former teacher a lesson, now wouldn’t it?  But it would make the world a much duller place.  The carnation might be my favorite flower, but I love that so many other options exist. My favorite scent is the Gardenia, and I love wisteria, too.  Let’s not even start naming trees, such as the cherry blossoms of the Sakura.

What I find very strange is not in the bandying about of racial slurs, but instead the reaction of those on the other side of it.  Nicknames are a common and healthy part of human nature.  It is as stupid to not mention a color of a person’s skin as it is to avoid saying that cherry blossoms are pinkish in color, because that might offend the Gardenia.  Imagine if a law were passed saying that you could no longer refer to the color of a flower.  Stupid doesn’t begin to describe it.  It is certainly not something that should be offensive.  I grew up in South America where I was the odd fish by being white.  Did everyone call me “La Gringa”?  Of course they did.  Did I take offense?  Of course not, that would be the most ridiculous thing I could do.  It is a descriptor.  As a writer I understand the need for descriptors, how else will your readers be able to envision what you are writing about.

I remember growing up in a very small town where I was the main attraction for having long blond hair.  Women would come up to me and ask me what shampoo I used to make it that color.  I would tell them it wasn’t the shampoo, it was the sun. This caused a stir as they avoided the sun like the plague, always bundling themselves up before going out or using an umbrella in order to avoid direct sunlight.  They were afraid of getting blotches on their faces from the sun.

My first boyfriend used to tease me about making “café con leche” together.  We never did, have sex that is, but I thought it was funny (which is how he meant it) and we would laugh and I would punch him.  I did go ahead and marry the second darkest guy in town.  There were two negritos (as everyone called them and which did not offend them in the least) in town and they both vied for my attention.  I remember one day they both came to visit me and I was sick, so they were both sent away without admittance.  They were great friends and so they walked together for about half the length of town before they parted.  They both doubled back by different routes and met, not more than thirty minutes later, as they approached my house again, each from the opposite side.  This time they were both admitted to my sick room as one had brought me flowers and the other had brought me Coca-cola.  I married the Coca-cola guy.

The flower guy was of African American descent; and the Coca-cola guy, in spite of being Michael Jackson’s doppelganger (think of his Thriller days, when Michael was such a handsome man), was of Native American descent.  Now he looks more like The Rock, though.  When we married I was excited to think that I could give birth to a child of any color.  I was hoping for babies of all shades from very white, like me, to very dark, like their father.  I had seen that happen to a family where the mother was white and the father was African American; they had six children, four were dark and two were white.  Nothing could have pleased me more.  However, my babies are all the same color, how disappointing.  They all look very much alike in fact, which I guess makes it easier for them when they tell people that they are brothers.  I might add that all three of my sons are very handsome, even if I do say so myself.

As my oldest son was born in Minneapolis, MN, I was surprised when people would stop me in McDonald’s and ask if he was adopted. I would have expected people to ask me that in South America, but not in the US, the land of such diversity. Others told me he was the most beautiful baby they had ever seen.  Later when he went to Israel, people would come up to him and start speaking in Arabic or Hebrew, certain that he must be of one of those two ethnicities.  As it turns out, the father of my children does have both of those ethnicities in his family tree, which is primarily Native American from several tribes, but also includes Spanish, Moorish, and Jewish roots.

The thing about racists is that the whole topic confuses me.  I embrace my ethnicity to the point of glorying in it.  I have taught my children to also embrace their roots and their coloring, although they are the most neutral of all coloring, being what I fondly call Comino-colored; see, that is funny since we use a lot of it in our cooking.  I have taught my children to be thick skinned when it comes to name-calling.  I doubt if any of my children would be provoked to anger by being called any racial name, no matter how offensive others might feel it to be.  Not that my children are the kind that let people walk all over them, by any means.  It’s just that I taught them that nicknames say more about the people who are saying them, then about the person being called.  What’s more, my boys understand this to be true.

You see no one can control another person.  We have control over ourselves, at least self-possessed people do.  As parents we have a certain amount of control over our children, until they get to a particular age, which is different for each child.  But we can never, ever, ever, ever…understand never… have control over another person or what they may choose to do or call you.  Please re-read my last sentence, it is of upmost importance, and the reason for this post.

Personally, I feel there is much more danger from people’s hatred of Christianity than of a person’s race.  Talk about intolerance.  Yet, that is not the topic of this post, so I will refrain from saying more on that head.

I suppose that I could have split this into two posts, but I decided not to, for no reason at all.

 

 

 

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