We climbed metal bleachers on Saturday and my second girl wore blue and gold. The rest of us melted in the stands while she cheered on our city league football team. We sat alone on one lone bleacher, right behind a sea of women with umbrellas and too many children to count.
The women were dressed to the nines, their hair molded into works of art. The 3 men, sitting among the women, wore pressed t-shirts and gold teeth and somehow I looked at my family and felt less than.
We looked like riff raff in jeans and flip-flops, my girl on the field in need of a pair of white tennis shoes and big hair bow. Maybe a trip to the salon on the corner to get her hair did.
I looked at us and I looked at them and I don’t ever remember having felt so white.
The football quarters moved as slow as molasses and as the clock ran down to half-time, I found myself longing to sit under one of their umbrellas. I wanted some shade and I wanted to sit in their patch of it.
We splurged on 6 sno-cones and 1 sports drink and wiped the sweat from our brows. We were quiet, at a loss for words, and we were needy.
Needy to laugh.
Needy to be a part of a group of people sharing the same experience.
Needy to know and to be known.
Needy to be wanted and included…needy to not be so different.
On Sunday, I find myself alone for the smallest stretch of time.
I play catch up with yesterday’s dirty socks and the morning’s dishes and I make the bed. I go through the motions of maintaining our home knowing full well my busy hands can’t make light of the heaviness that sits in my very being.
And on Sunday, I want to be home.
I wrestle with God now, while my house is quiet. I pose questions to the sky and I listen for God to float down the answers I want to hear. I pick myself apart and turn inward, trying to figure out how to fix me so that I fit in this place…So that it becomes my home.
I wrestle with race and economic status. I wrestle with fitting into our neighborhood and figuring out how we function as a white family living in the hood, surrounded by poverty while planting a church full of white privileged people.
I wrestle with feeling like we’re short-changing our kids and worrying that they’ll want to wear dreadlocks and over-sized gym shorts.
To be honest with you, I wrestle with my own prejudice and privilege and inability to fit Christ into a pretty box.
And I wrestle with my own longing for home, while at the same time, wondering what home really looks like.
It’s past midnight here and our first day of school will begin around our dinner table a bit after 8 in the morning. I’ll serve whole wheat pancakes with real maple syrup and we’ll begin our day with four verses in Psalms and we’ll end our day when the neighborhood kids knock on the front door at 3:50.
I’ll play judge and jury and serve peanut butter crackers and kool-aid and the backyard will become home to the riff raff from down the street.
And I’ll think less of home and more about being home.
And race will never enter my mind.