January 09, 2009

Taking down Christmas and other life lessons

It has taken me about 3 days to take down Christmas. I am gonna guess 3 because I am giving up on finishing tonight and it was day 2. So I guess the primary presidency members coming to my house for a board meeting at 10:00am will just have to see the mess my house is in, hear me make some funnyish comment about it, and get over themselves. Although I did have more motivation to get it done tonight because there is a new member of the presidency who hasn't been over here yet and I always like to make a good first impression. I have been to her house a few times and it seems things don't get cluttered or dirty over there at all. Still I am going to try and like this person.

I was reminded aobut all the Christmas that needed boxing and squishing under the stairs at my home when I was at brownie scouts with my daughter last night and saw in the bathroom (?!) a creche that was very similar to the one I grew up staring at in my own childhood home. I did a double take and realized one difference. All three of the wisemen where white. My set growing up had one black wiseman. It looked a bit like this set here

And suddenly upon remembering this image in my mind I also remembered the amount of staring I did at the one black wise man in our set. He may very well have been the only black man in my home for years and years. (Well it was Provo people). He was a deep dark black, with very white eyes. I stared with imense curiosity and wonder. In fact once I could have sworn I heard him whisper "Why don't you take a picture, it will last longer?" There were not too many men of color (or women for that matter) growing up in Provo Utah. So that is probably why I found him so facinating. I smiled when I remembered the sheltered child I once was.

I often tell my children how lucky they are to live a more exposed lifestyle than I did in a diverse place with exposure to many colors and cultures. How lucky we were to live in a foregin country and be the minority for a time in Seoul Korea. I am now much more sympathetic to people who try and make it here without knowing the language, or how to drive, etc. It takes guts to keep going sometimes in that environment.

And I am most happy to report that I grew out of the staring at people of color a long time ago. Now I look them in the eyes. I smile and am freindly. I sometimes feel thier surprise at my behavior and feel sad for them a bit. Sad for the fact that they have probably been mistreated. Or they are like I once was- underexposed. May we all take a step closer to that Christ child in my nativity and stop looking at skin, and instead look within.


Bob and Julie said...

Nice thoughts...so true. You know, I've always had the same color wise men too....hmmmm...I just never noticed. You are much more observant than I am. I wonder how much I miss out on sometimes : Just the other day I commented on a student's haircut and she said that she got it cut 3 weeks ago....oh my!!...I felt like an idiot!! See....I need to be more observant!!!

Eileen said...

My nativity set also had a black wiseman and at Temple Square in that great big life-size nativity, there was also a black wise man. I did some research and tradition says one of the wise men came from Ethiopia. I love that.

Chaka said...

I admit Provo is not the most diverse place on earth. Years ago I remember working in my front yard with my 4 year old. A young black man walked by and my son saw him and yelled out "Hey dad look, it's Michael Jordan!" I almost died from embarrasment but the guy just laughed.