I like to say I grew up on the back of a motorcycle. My dad and his stepdad owned matching Suzukis and enjoyed weekend rides in the mountains of northwest Arkansas. I often went with them. We would leave in the early hours before the sun rose high enough to bake both pavement and shoulders. I’d wrap my arms around my daddy’s waist and a bungee cord around mine, secured to the backrest in case I started to nod off on those sleepy Saturday mornings.
It always fascinated me that whenever we’d pass motorcycles coming toward us — usually people we did not know — my dad and the other drivers waved low to each other, a gesture that implied more than a simple hello. It communicated not only acceptance and camaraderie but also an unspoken message: you are one of my people.
When we rode that motorcycle we were part of something bigger, a special club, if linked by nothing more than our chosen mode of transportation. It was a bond which transcended socioeconomic, age, and racial lines.
Last weekend I once again witnessed that old, familiar wave between two motorcyclists, and I couldn’t help but wonder: what if the rest of us accepted each other so readily, without analysis or hesitation? Can you even imagine it?
We have homeschooled our kids for over 20 years, and yet my kids still make jokes about homeschoolers. “Why do you turn on your own demographic? Don’t you know these are your people?” I ask. Often they don’t see it. Unfortunately, they aren’t the only ones. Most of us are guilty of this in some area of our lives. But what might it look like if we changed?
What if we, as Christians, celebrated our shared love of Christ rather than judge each other or denounce other denominations?
What if mothers supported and encouraged one another instead of criticizing those who educate or discipline their children differently or make different choices regarding work or family size?
What if we quit unfriending people online based on their political views and took a moment to remember why we connected in the first place?
What if we no longer allow age to be a barrier to friendships with other women, viewing older women as sources of wisdom (rather than assuming they can no longer relate to our struggles) and looking for opportunities to mentor younger women (rather than assuming they don’t want our help)?
What if we quit assuming we know other people’s intentions?
What if we expect the best from people and stop looking for ways to be offended? As the Avett Brothers sing, “Got a whole lot of reasons to be mad, let’s not pick one.”
What if we quit trying to keep up with the Joneses and instead invite them over for supper?
Why do we believe differences create attraction in love but only sameness can bring us together as friends?
We can have many external differences but share a foundational love for God, His principles, and His people. We must view our relationships through a special filter — the way Jesus sees us — to embrace the differences we all have and not judge a person by their outward appearance.
” . . . for the Lord seeth not as man seeth;
for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7 (KJV)
What we have in common — our sisterhood in Christ — is stronger than any earthly differences.