Friday, October 20, 2017


Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 293: Today, I am grateful for diversity.

One of my favorite parts of college was taking in and learning what other people thought. I was honored to be educated with people from all kinds of diverse social and socioeconomic backgrounds. Yes, it was a small Christian university... but it was so much more. 

It was there I watched my sweet friend Abby wait by the phone for her one phone call a month from her parents in Ethiopia. The calls were pricey so they had to plan them and then talk fast. She missed them so much. I remember her telling how much her parents sacrificed to get her to the USA for an education and opportunity. I remember how she described her father as a "prayer warrior" with so much respect and adoration her eyes sparkled.  

Some came for school barely speaking English. Others struggled with extended family roots in another country and culture, but being born and or raised American.  Trying to find the balance between respect and tradition... and being raised with freedom of thought and opportunity. There is a delicate balance to be found and kept. 

Some were wealthy and others worked several jobs just to support themselves through school. And, there was everything in between. Not everyone saw the world through the same pair of eyes. Our differences made the environment richer. Learning to voice them with respect helped us all grow. I am grateful for educators who fostered safe environments for critical thinking. 

6+3=9, but so does 5+4.

You can ask what is 6+3? Or, what is 5+4? The answer is the same. There is more than one route to the right answer or a good answer. Just ask my poor Geometry teacher. I was always the last to finish. Sometimes after the bell. Once, he shook his head as I turned in my test and said, "Valerie, I have never, ever had another student take such a long route to the right answer." I just smiled. I guess... even in math... I had trouble with short stories. And, I actually liked geometry. 

It isn't always about right and wrong, but how you journey to the answer. 

That said... there is a time for absolute rights and absolute wrongs... and wear we draw the line in the sand defines us as people and a culture... and as people of faith. God's commandments are just that... his orders and instructions. 

We may worship Him with different kinds of songs. Some dance, some life their hands and others look like a traditional choir. 

Some may raise their hands in prayer while others bow their heads. Some kneel. Others, lay prostrate on the ground. 

Some go to far away places to share God's love, some share over the backyard fence. 

Love Him and you will keep his commandments.

“If you love me, obey my commandments." -John 14:15

What does he command? Love the Lord, your God. Love your neighbors... all of them. Non-negotiable.  And, as Bob Goff says so simply, "Love does". How it does is up to us. 

Diversity is beautiful... like the big box of crayons.  

Today, I am grateful for diversity.

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