Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Common Ground in Differences - Donna Mann
Summer is camp weather — and we’ve done a lot of it through the last few months. We often contact people in the areas we’re travelling to see if they have time for lunch or maybe a coffee at Timmie’s. Such was the case in our recent trip.
It was a situation where we recently visited old friends of the Mennonite tradition while travelling east. We had known one another for many years; trust and friendship had developed between us. In the past we’d learned about our mutual churches, congregations and groups within faith communities, and at times discussed biblical passages and God’s expectations.
We looked at photo albums and listened to stories from the past decade. As I coloured pictures, read stories and laughed with the children, it was like having my own grandchildren around my knees. As the father/husband asked God’s blessings on us individually before our meal, it was truly drawing us all to the same table. Indeed, we shared common ground in the oneness of God’s care and love, as well as our faithfulness and return of gratitude.
On our second day, we were scanning the roadside for a rest area, when we noticed a rural United Church building with a big empty parking lot—big enough to turn this rig around. As no one was there, we couldn’t ask permission, so I just put on the kettle and opened our lunch packages. Within the half-hour several cars came rushing in. As it turned out, the women’s group had arrived to practice a skit for an upcoming event. Later, as we talked together, it reminded me of coffee hour after church. Again common ground in location, witness and mission.
My last experience was one of urgency: later in the day, we parked in a mall lot and as Doug checked the hitches and lights, a tall foreign man came up behind him and asked for a screwdriver. “Straight” he said. At first, my fear heightened. Doug gave it to him without looking back. We watched him walk toward a huge loaded transport, to stand facing the passenger door. He obviously attempted to open the lock. Doug ventured over to offer further assistance and it happened the driver had requested permission from a grocery store to unload, but wasn’t granted consent because he was not wearing safety boots. His newly purchased boots were now in the cab, but so where his keys.
With a clothes hanger from the trailer and a little fancy manoeuvring, Doug opened the huge truck cab door. Even with a language and culture barrier, a pressing need, and established trust (albeit short-lived), the driver was able to deliver his load before the deadline. The men had found common ground in the differences: a need and a willingness to help.
We laughed as thirty minutes later, we saw the same truck cab, minus its long trailer move in a circle around our RV, heading for the exit—his way of saying thankful.
Check out donnamann.org
21 Promises: Honouring Self in Grief is available now on Amazon and Kobo.
"Grieving is a natural process. No 12-step course or structured online lesson can teach us to grieve. It comes naturally once we give ourselves permission to do so. . . "
Grief is a mysterious monster. It lunges us into deep dark places seeking the once familiar pathway of love. It longs to recapture the ...
Inspiration hardly strikes on an empty stomach. For this, and other reasons, writers must eat. And if you like minced beef (and you...
A phrase I do not remember hearing frequently, has surpized me in the last three days, at least twice, in totally unrelated con...
I hope you and your loved ones enjoyed a safe and pleasant Canada Day celebration. My wife and I did. However, instead of writing about ...
Women who came from a variety of cultural backgrounds and languages met together and talked about heat and warmth. If the mothe...
Glen and I were in Quebec City for a fund-raising event. When it finished, we decided to go to one of our favourite restaur...
We bring you greetings from the Solace Retreat House in Kigali, Rwanda. REVOLUTIONARY LOVE (John 3:16) was the theme of the five-day Healin...
I considered making this piece a prologue in my book, but I feel that readers often skip prologues. I would welcome your feedback on th...
A book that should be on every Christian writer's reading list is Shakedown , by Ezra Levant. Here are some critic's comments. In...
By Rev Dr Ed and Janice Hird While recently teaching on marriage in East Africa to tens of thousands, we asked many Africans what ...