THREE YEARS AGO
Everyone loves going to the basketball games in Cairo, in fact the school is known for its amazing basketball players. As I sat in the high school gym for my first Cairo ball game I couldn’t help but glance around at the faces in the stands. There were about 10 white people in the entire gym, and I came with five of them. Did this bother me? No, of course I have been in situations where I have been the minority – churches, volunteered at different schools…Was this a problem to me? No. What hit me at that moment was the fact that I had just moved to a community that is predominantly African American, the tables were turned. Now I am was the minority. Let the reader understand I am in NO WAY trying to describe my experience as a parallel to what African Americans (and other minorities) experience every day, and in NO WAY am I saying that I can identify with their struggle. At that moment I had a revelation, I had NOTHING to offer the people in Cairo. Prior to making the move, I was the typical idealistic college grad. Who thought she could conquer the world with Jesus on her side. Jesus gives does give me victory in every area of my life, however I had a bit of pride that needed to be stripped away. I had to see that it wasn’t about my great ideas, my knowledge, my wisdom, my plans, my proposals, my dreams…it was about HIS. And let me tell you, I needed to come to that place of feeling absolutely worthless to the community – without Christ. Questions swirled through my mind as I looked around. This wasn’t just a basketball game, this was my life, this was my community, this was my ministry, this was my new home. I wondered how I could fit in. I wondered how I could identify. I wondered how I could show Christ’s love. I wondered how I could make an impact.
THREE DAYS AGO
After staying up all night and worshipping with my brothers and sisters at SIU in Carbondale, I decided to get a little sleep before heading off to the Mounds Celebration. Mounds is a little town right next door to Cairo. They have a town parade which travels less than a mile, concluding at the park with vendors, a petting zoo, and games. Usually I don’t go to these types of things alone; it’s just more fun with a group of people. Today was different, I knew that I would go by myself, everyone else was still sleeping. I was determined to cheer on the Cairo Band as well as visit some friends at the park who had booths set up. Since I don’t know many people in Mounds, I parked next to some Cairo-ites and hung out with them during the parade. I snapped a bunch of pictures of the parade and the Cairo Band, hoping that some would be put in the school yearbook. As the band marched on by, my heart was beating along with the deep drums thumping. The energy is contagious. Afterwards I walked to the park to check out the happenings there. I was pleasantly surprised to see some old friends. A couple gals who were involved with the dance team I coached when I first got to Cairo, Coraviece, and Deborah and Johnny, along with some new friends who own horses in Olmsted. It was great reconnecting with people, a blessing to see people I have built relationships with over the past three years of living in Cairo. It was a satisfying afternoon, and I was thankful that I went to the Mounds celebration despite my lack of sleep. As I drove home, I had a flashback of my first Cairo basketball game.
My, how things have changed. My heart and mind have been transformed since moving down here. My perspective has shifted. I no longer see myself as a minority, although this is true, I see myself as part of the whole. I am a member of the Body of Christ.
I need you, you need me.
I praise God for sending me here to Cairo, for it has been a place of refinement and revelation. Thank you God that I truly have NOTHING to offer this community except you in me.