Friday, November 09, 2007

Culture Shock

I live in San Antonio, but I don't. Sure, my mail is addressed to San Antonio, but my city is vastly different from the San Antonio just 20 miles south or west or east of my neighborhood. My San Antonio is 75 percent white, 95 percent English speaking, and 100 percent above the poverty line. But that's not the real San Antonio.

I've lived a sheltered life. A comfortable life. And for some reason, I'm a little afraid of things outside that life.

Today I visited my friend KJ, who is stuck at University Hospital this week. University is the public hospital, equivalent to County on "ER." No insurance? No problem, since they'll treat anybody who walks in the door. KJ thinks she's one of the few people actually paying to be there.

Yesterday, one of the Amys visited KJ. On her way in, she saw a man who was in leg irons. He was a prisoner of some sort, and Amy was a little freaked out by the time she got to the 12th floor.

But it got me thinking... Why are we so afraid of people "different" than we are? Jesus would have gone up to that man, struck up a conversation, and probably absolved him of his sins. Me? I would have meekly scurried away and said a prayer of thanks for the nice armed guards.

My visit to the hospital was less exciting. I made a concerted effort to smile at people and pretend that I didn't feel out of place. But I did, and that bothers me.

I have no real conclusions or epiphanies here -- I'm just noting an observation about myself. Your thoughts?

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