“Sorry I didn’t make the meeting last night,” my Aboriginal friend confessed. She had come to town and walked into the building where we were meeting, but she couldn’t bring herself to enter the conference room alone.
My heart ached for her feeling of aloneness. I think about her now as we try to form our Multicultural Friendship Group. Our tiny organizational committee has been advertising, planning a program and looking at making our meeting-space comfortable for our next meeting. We need, also, to individually invite those living on the edge of our community to “come with us”.
Scriptures are full of stories of welcoming the “sojourners”. Jesus tells about the unexpected kindness of the Samaritan traveler. He called out to “outsiders”, like the tax collector, to be part of his group of disciples. All devout people remembered that the great King David’s Grandmother was from Moab.
It is important for the traditional members of any society to be inclusive of others if we are to have healthy communities.
In my own experience, the saleswoman in our country market in Korea asked me how much I paid for the potatoes I bought from the vendor a few paces away. It was so out of character with the usual exchange of greetings that I said “Why do you ask?” She replied “That woman is new here and she may not know you belong in our community!” Tears came to my eyes when I realized the gentle way these folks took care of me. I began to notice those who held eye contact as we passed on the street, who spoke a greeting, who ran to invite me to come and bring my camera because there was something I might appreciate seeing.
When we have people of different ethnic backgrounds in our communities, it is up to all of us to recognize their hesitations and invite them into our lives. We will all be the richer for experience.
- The newly formed Multicultural Friendship Group will be meeting for a Potluck Supper on Saturday, November 28 at St. John’s Anglican Church (Main Street, Pincher Creek) from 6 to 9 pm. Everyone is welcome. Come and bring a friend. First Nations folks will be presenting the program.