Thursday, February 11, 2010

Same Kind of Different As Me...

I started Same Kind of Different As Me several weeks ago because a blog that I follow had it as the book club choice. I have to admit that it took me a while to get into it. I read most nights while I'm sitting in the bathtub (as I've discovered that I can turn on the jets and not hear a fussy baby so it's Eddie's turn!). I love my "escape" time whether it's 10 minutes or 45. I love it. Since I don't have hours to dedicate to reading, I had to read this book piece by piece. About halfway through, I realized it was a fantastic book and didn't want to put it down. Instead of skipping a night or two of bathtub time, I made it a priority and devoured the book!

Same Kind of Different As Me is a story about two very different men: Ron, a wealthy art dealer and Denver, a sharecropper-turned-homeless man. Ron's life and his priorities are mixed up. He gets mixed up in an inappropriate relationship with another woman and when his wife finds out she forgives the lady and says that she'll do everything she can to save their marriage. They begin marriage counseling and completely turn their relationship around. She (Deborah) asks Ron if he'll consider going with her to begin serving in their city's homeless shelter once a week. He does so only for her. He, like a lot of us, thinks that giving money is an easier way to help, but Deborah is insistent that they must give their time and get to know the homeless people.

Around the time that they start serving the homeless, Deborah has a dream about a homeless man that will change the city. She begins looking for the man that she's dreamed about and she actually recognizes him the minute she lays eyes on him. She pushes Ron into a relationship with him (Denver), one that Denver is skeptical about. He tells Ron that he doesn't want to be friends with Ron if he's just going to be catch-and-release about it. (This came from him discussing the difference in the way white people fish and the way black people fish. White people catch-and-release, whereas black people keep their fish.)

I don't want to give away the whole story but Deborah and Denver make a huge impact on the lives of many, many homeless people and Denver impacts Ron in a huge way as well. The story is completely true and there are some pretty amazing moments in the book.

MY thoughts? I loved it. One of my favorite parts of the book:

Denver: "It didn't make no sense to me. But after a while, God explained it. A lotta times while I was out there, I'd see a shootin' star burn across the black sky, bright one minute and gone the next. Ever time I seen one, seemed like it was gon' fall all the way to the ground, and I couldn't understand why I never could see where it went. After I seen a lot of em act that way, I felt like God was givin me a message 'bout Miss Debbie. The Word says God put ever star in the heavens and even give ever one of em a name. If one of em was gon' fall out the sky, that was up to Him, too. Maybe we can't see where it's gon' wind up, but He can....And I found out that sometimes we just have to accept the things we don't understand."

This makes me think of several things going on in the lives of some friends right now. We don't know why things happen the way that they happen, but we can be assured that God has His hand in every bit of it.

Another favorite part:

"Even though I'm almost seventy years old, I got a lot to learn, too. I used to spend a lotta time worryin that I was different from other people, even from other homeless folks. Then, after I met Miss Debbie and Mr. Ron, I worried that I was so different from them that we wadn't ever gon' have no kind a' future. But I found out everybody's different - the same kind of different as me. We're all just regular folks walkin down the road God done set in front of us."

Wow! And finally:

"You never know whose eyes God is watchin' you through. It probably ain't gonna be your preacher and it just might be someone who was livin' like I used to."

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