Edward was in line to get gifts for his kids.
He was young, maybe 25. Black hair, brown skin, dark eyes. His accent was Hispanic.
He watched us white ladies for a minute, seeing us struggle to communicate clearly with the Hispanic ladies in line. Our spotty Spanish and their minuscule English couldn’t cross every barrier.
So when it was my turn to sign up Edward, he explained he could speak both English and Spanish. If we needed him to help translate, he was available.
I immediately answered yes. I asked how to say this and that. He would tell me, distinguishing the nuance between Guatemalan Spanish and Mexican Spanish.
That’s when I asked where he was from, wondering which Spanish he knew best.
And he told me: I am an American.
Oh. Of course. We moved on, kept talking.
But my mind couldn’t let it go.
So on my third or fourth trip to ask Edward a translation question, I finally said it:
“I have to apologize. I feel bad I asked where you were from. I just assumed you weren’t from here.”
Edward just laughed. He said he gets that all the time.
I shouldn’t just assume.
It’s easy to jump to conclusions, whether about ethnicity or income or religious beliefs.
Just because someone doesn’t look like me or sound like me doesn’t mean that he’s not like me. Edward and I likely had more in common, both as American citizens, than we had differences.
Maybe God created us all to look a little different on our outsides so we’d look a little closer at our insides.
- To spot our similarities.
- To discover our distinctions.
- To practice our principles.
I was thankful for Edward’s grace. He gave it freely. So I jumped on it freely.
But I haven’t forgotten it. I want to learn from it.
In the future, I want to jump quicker to grace and jump slower to conclusions.
* * *
When have you jumped too quickly to the wrong conclusion? When have you been given grace? Please share in the comments.
- Are You Available?
- Poor in Spirit, Rich in Grace