For the last few years, I’ve spent time in the medical field working with patient registration and insurances. This experience spanned an emergency room, a rehabilitation hospital, and a doctor’s office. The last two weeks, while checking in patients, I’ve heard this statement or a variance on it more than once:
“I’m not used to seeing a guy here.”
“This is a woman’s job, I can’t believe you’re doing it.”
“I’ve never seen a guy working in this spot.”
“Wow, you don’t see guys doing receptionist work.”
For in those moments of awkwardness, I’ve experienced a taste of the Other.
You can write off antiquated opinions all you want but, in the end, the Other remains the same. It is every person standing out in the crowd, breaking the mold, crushing through the glass ceiling. The Other isn’t often spoken of in positive tones, though. It is the immigrant, the refugee crossing boarders. It is the small business owner starting a family restaurant on the wrong side of town. It is the family moving in down the street looking, talking, or worshiping differently.
It is difference in living form and we don’t like difference.
2015 is the year of the Other.
And oh how we fight it. We, as ones who claim to follow Jesus, call ourselves victims. We point fingers. We are not like them. We demand to be heard, picking the parts of the Bible useful to the cause while ignoring the command to Love our Neighbors.
Still, there are those finding victory over the Other. People serve; hands reaching across the aisles, street corners, and school yards. Children play with other children of all colors, ages, and backgrounds because it is fun and fun is a universal language.
If there is to be true change, terms must be rewritten. For victory is not claiming power or privilege, not for those following Jesus. Victory is service. Victory is sacrifice. Victory is selfless love and honor.
Because the last will be first. Because we store up treasures in Heaven, not on earth. Because it is our job to give, not receive. To love and not hate. To not let the sun go down on our anger and never ignore the plank in our own eye when we call out the speck in the eye of someone else.
Not everyone can ignore comments like the ones above (and I know some of you hear much worse on a daily basis from coworkers, family, and even friends) but, if one person reads this and decides to make a change tomorrow, it will start a ripple effect.
Victory comes with compassion, the choice to care about the Other, to shift perspective and find unity.
I look in the eyes of my sons and know they will face negativity one day, probably without cause. I want them to know their identities as men, as believers, and treasures to Val and I. I want them to rewrite the books, stand up for those in need, and change the world.
Nothing is impossible. For them and for you. Never forget it.