Even after five years, sometimes I feel like I am lost in a tangle of language, culture, traditions, national borders.
Why was I born on this side of white and you were born on that side of brown?
The river of words that runs in my heart is not the same as the river of words that runs in your heart, though there are times the rivers mingle, when languages come together.
Why are you called Vietnamese and I am called American? Why are you called Thai and I am called “Farang?” Why are you called Karen and I am called Caucasian?
Why was I born where the world was bright and hope sprang unbidden in my heart and you felt only the crushing of loneliness and the thwarting of choices from the day you were born?
Why was I born with the weight of a culture on my shoulders I feel obliged to carry, a weight that is different from the weight you carry? And perhaps you feel no obligation to carry?
Why are you the other, and I am the one? Or I am the other and you are the one?
Why are our worlds dictated by the little books in our pockets that we call passports, that identify us?
Or do they?
Where are the lines where spirit surpasses language, where kindness goes beyond cultural borders, where hope speaks across lines enforced by countries?
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28 (ESV)
What exactly does this mean? Five years ago I had more answers than I do now.