The Beauty of Difference - "Like a Rainbow"
As the doors of the elevator from the 3rd basement garage opened on the main visitors lobby of the UN there was a rumble of activity - native American Indian chant and dancing in one space, a photography display of portraits of indigenous people around the world, small groups of people - some very petite and others towering in height - walked along in their traditional dress, from scantily clad to multi-layered.
Here they were - often using a second language to speak with each other of issues of vital importance to them: land rights, water resources, the historical documentation of their ways, languages, traditions, stories, rituals, music, clothing. They were also there forging alliances and speaking with agencies who might be able to assist them in areas of sanitation and health care.
There are things I will NOT miss about being in NYC every day - mainly the commute back and forth - and there are other things that I will miss sorely.
I will miss the daily interaction with people from foreign countries - of different heritages, faiths, social traditions. I will miss seeing the indescribable of diversity that permiates the City. In the stores, the cabs, the sidewalks, the parks, the parishes.
While I will probably have the opportunity or occasion to go to different parishes of a Sunday to function solo as deacon or to speak or to accompany Barbara in some capacity, the visit will be the exception and not the rule.
Here in Rockland County several ethnic groups are strongly represented yet, with exception of the Haitian and Chinese/Korean/Phillipino/Indian communities, it is a very white predominantly Roman Catholic or Hasidic Jewish region.
The change from being an Irish Roman Catholic and self-segregated Hasidic Jewish stronghold had its bumps. Being different than the established population may have been note-worthy, but not in a positive context. It has taken time and dialogue and negotiation and.....dare I say it...... love and goodwill to value diversity as a gift worth celebrating and encouraging.
The Lord God made it ALL - what we know as this earth, still (despite our human errors) teeming with life. The beginnings of each plant, animal, matter, the elements are traced by people of faith to the Source, the Higher Power, the Divine, G_d, God. God made all manner of diversity and - behold, IT WAS VERY GOOD. Not tolerable or simply OK......VERY GOOD.
There may have been a time when you have felt different, ill fitting, rejected, disregarded because of a 'difference'. We need to recall that difference is the ingredient that makes the things we eat taste of more than just strawberry (although at this season, strawberry tastes very, very good).
I thought I would end with a song recorded by both Cyndi Lauper and Phil Collins, TRUE COLORS written by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg (I don't think they're from Rockland county..... but they COULD be!)
You with the sad eyes, Don't be discouraged