An IHN volunteer at Starmount Presbyterian, our host church this week, asked a good question yesterday morning. Unfortunately he asked before I was fully awake, so I don't recall the exact wording. Acknowledging the fact that the blog has been read all over the world now, he wanted to know if perhaps readers in other countries were getting a one-sided or slanted view of America. Through a fog of sleep deprivation, I believe my answer fell somewhere along the lines of people will always have a perception of America, good or bad, and I don't think what I say will necessarily make gross changes in that perception. He seemed satisfied with the answer, so I guess I wasn't totally inarticulate.
It seems lately that we're constantly on the move. Each day begins the same: up at 5:00-5:30, get the kids up and ready, eat a hurried breakfast, on the van, back to the Day Center. Then there's still the routine minutiae of each day: kids in school; Mama handling her business, including looking for work; me at work or looking for more work. Then back to the Day Center in time to be there when Nessie gets back from school and get ready to take the van over to the host church. Unless I'm at work, in which case, I often have to do a lot of standing, walking and lifting. And the stairs -- oy! Afterward, I take the bus to the church; the route is farther away at night, so that means a goodly hike.
My battle with Miss Stern at the store the other day made me forget that the vast majority of the people that come in are very friendly, or at least neutral. Such as the smiling lady that very same day who waited patiently while I tracked down a bottle of rug cleaner for her in the stockroom, or the nice couple just last night who dropped a bundle on some patio furniture and kept apologizing because they thought they were taking up all my time (they weren't; all part of the job). I just have to focus on the nice ones, is all.
People like Ms. Stern are sad individuals. Next time a customer acts like that, pity them and see them for what they are, sad people with a small existence.
Ultimately, that rug means nothing in the universe, but the ugliness she showed to you will be with her for eternity.
But reading your blog shows that the world isn't that different on the other side 7000 km away from here, And that there seems to be an incredible number of helping people in the US, lol. I'm not even sure I feel the same about france, at this point.
How is your life experience any more or less one sided that any other website that presents a view? And what's a positive message about America? A big can of worms debate I'm sure could open up there! Is it the 700 Club of the ACLU?
And I don't mean to diminish your writings in any way with this, but your voice is small. Think about all the other American based websites out there. How is your presentation of American life going to stack up again the mainstream American media, like CNN or the Washington Post? Ultimately you're just one guy speaking your truth. The media juggernaut will always win out.
It's a nice complement though that he was thinking of you as an influential voice in international politics and opinion. I know I'd enjoy that feather in my hat.