Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, February 27, 2015
Day #9 – Melting Pot? Salad Bowl? Point of Prayer!
Multi-cultural America is sometimes called the melting pot. This imagery resonates with me especially well because my grandfather emigrated to this country in the early years of the twentieth century. He and his family arrived on a steamer, entering New York City through Ellis Island. (I remember him telling me how vividly he remembered seeing the Statue of Liberty from the deck of the steam ship.)
But, what about another image? What about a big salad bowl? How different flavors “swap around,” as Mark Twain might say. Especially in a large city like Chicago, such diversity becomes second-nature. Automatic.
I think of the hospital where I served as an on-call chaplain for seven years, on the north side of Chicago. That hospital was located in a ZIP code (60625) that was one of the most diverse postal codes in the country. And, that was according to the United States Census Bureau. Multi-cultural, yet also diverse in just about every other way that comes to mind. In terms of ethnic origin, languages spoken, faith traditions celebrated, as well as economic basis. And more. I never knew who would be in that next room I visited. It was an exciting place to work.
In terms of a diverse population, the Chicago suburb where I work is another miniature United Nations. The preschool housed at our church has children from a number of backgrounds and nationalities. And—I love it! As the email from #40acts mentioned today, “we all want a safe, clean and happy environment for our children and elders; decent, affordable homes and satisfying jobs; respect and freedom, peace and health, physical as well as spiritual.” Yes, these are wonderful goals, things to strive for and make a reality.
I try to be friendly to most everyone. I really do. Whether it’s a cashier at the grocery store, the man behind the counter at the gas station, or someone in line at the post office, I do try to be pleasant and courteous. I went out of my way to make conversation at lunch time. I ate at a restaurant near my home. It’s owned by a family of immigrants from Greece. I had a good sandwich with really excellent cole slaw on the side. I complimented the owner as I paid my bill, and told her how much I enjoyed it. I think she appreciated the compliment.
Such a simple thing. Being pleasant, kind, and complimentary. What a way for me to be generous! God willing, I’ll continue tomorrow. I hope so. I pray so.
Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.
(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )