I’ve become quite familiar with the unordinary.
That said, I’m pretty sure there’s a reason I get all excited when I meet a Mennonite PK Physics professor. That said, I rarely notice how I stick out in WesCF (Wesleyan Christian Fellowship). In fact, I don’t think I would ever notice if other people didn’t point it out or occasionally miss the things that matter a lot to me.
Perhaps my intoxicated hall mate put it most bluntly when upon bursting in my room on a Saturday night freshman year and found a room full of people. His comment was not, oh you’re all having Bible study (as we clearly were). It was, “Tori, they’re all Asian.” Realizing that he was interrupting, he slammed the door, and left. But that moment hasn’t ever left me.
Other people see the difference, although I don’t often see it.
I really, really don’t care that I’m the only white kid in WesCF. I care that there are hundreds of white (and black, brown, purple, orange, whatever) kids here who don’t know Christ. And I also care when people who don’t know my midwestern culture overlook important things without even knowing it. This was never highlighted so clearly as on Easter Sunday when people just didn’t get how much it hurt me not to be able to really celebrate.
Tomorrow, all the Wesleyan kids who go to Wellspring are hosting several of the leaders and our friends from the church. This lunch has literally been three years in the making and has taken a lot for us to pull off.
Going to the store was an experience in and of itself, because we had to buy a bunch of stuff I’ve never gotten at the grocery store before. I had no idea where to find chives or what a mango actually looks like (I’ve only had mango flavored stuff). Abraham teased me a little, and all in good nature, but it made me keenly aware that it was one of those little moments where there is some kind of disconnect.
This evening, I had to cook in a full, dirty kitchen in Lighthouse, instead of my own house. I had 48 pieces of chicken that needed defrosted, de-skinned, and double-coated in the frying mix. My friends were also in the kitchen, talking quietly while chopping up the stuff that I couldn’t find at the store, and flipping back and forth between English and Chinese.
After awhile, one of the guys, a nice guy and a leader, but not one that I’ve worked with much, came up and told me my chicken looked cool and that rolling it around in the flour batter looked fun. Then he jumped in beside me and marveled at its simplicity.
In that simple act, and I know that he has no idea how much it meant to me, he washed away all the uncomfortability in the room.
(p.s. 16 lbs of chicken took up every inch of the oven racks. 45 minutes in, the sizzling was the loudest noise in the kitchen. I’d have taken a photo, but I left my camera at home.)