Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Finally read The Help

I knew I was going to have to stay up all night if I wanted to finish The Help in time for my book club!  Fortunately, while cooking dinner I steam burnt my fingers so bad I had to sleep on the couch and soak my hand in ice water all night. That kept me up, kept me reading.

In the end I think my deepest reflection is simply my gratitude to my parents, and the way they raised me.  I was never to think someone of lower socioeconomic circumstances or of a different shade or culture or religion was any sort of "other."  We were all children of God.

Around my dinner table it was understood that people who come to this country from another have to work hard to start a new life here, just like my ancestors did a hundred plus years ago.  We were taught to be intrigued by and respectful of traditions and beliefs that varied from ours.  Unfamiliar heritage was beautiful, intelligent and part of what makes our world go round.

There was no "bring him home and I'll shoot him," but rather "I'd love a grandchild with gorgeous brown skin, and gorgeous black hair."  Sometimes I worried it might break my mother's heart if we all married white and had little white haired, blue eyed children.

My upbringing left no doubt in my mind that we were all Children of a Father in Heaven, who loves us (who may even love the poor and humble a little more than He does the greedy and proud).

Racial slurs always made me uncomfortable. I never wanted to repeat, even rethink, the racial jokes I'd hear outside my home.

My family was far from perfect, and we had negative things to say about others, just like every family does. But I knew that negativity never had anything to do with what was on the outside of a person.

Just as Constantine told Skeeter, I knew its what's on the inside that make someone ugly, and my parents didn't even have to smash their finger to my forehead to teach me that.

Everyday I'm grateful for that gift. The Help just made me a hundred times more grateful. It would be an awfully long and lonesome life to learn that the hard way. A Terrible Awful Thing to never learn it at all.


Tiff said...

I just finished reading it the other day too. It's crazy to think that it was only in the 1960s, that there was segregation here. Although there's room to grow, it's great to see how far we've come as a society with race relations and women's rights. I don't think I appreciate it enough on a regular basis because it's always been this way for me. It's also great living in this area because of the diversity even at church.

Anonymous said...

Guess what's playing at the Plaza Twin -- The Help!!! Ma, Laura and I are going for sure. I loved that book. Made me appreciate my own liberal upbringing.

I worry that the US is going backwards rather than forward in our treatment of our fellow men. Blaming all our woes on the poor and illegal immigration is not the answer -- the filthy rich not paying their way is the problem. This upcoming election will reveal the true character of the American people, will it not?

I fear we are becoming more and more un-Christ like in our acts and deeds, all in the good name of Christianity. 'Nough said...


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