‘You’re not one of us.’
Painful to hear. Even more painful not to hear, but to experience the undeclared fact. To be excluded. To be silenced, because to speak would call forth ‘the colors,’ making it impossible to pretend. This is the unwritten law of human relationships since the beginning, this the invisible fence of real apartheid between insiders and out. No respecter of persons, from twosomes to nations, and everything between.
Coming into the world we naturally expect to belong. Belong to what or to whom, it doesn’t matter. Just to belong. We came from many, we expect to go to many, to find our place in circles where as few as one other or as many as millions orbit, not us but, some center of gravity. Sometimes, if something goes wrong, yes, then we might expect all to orbit ourselves, but this annihilates what it means to belong.
This is what forms the history of the human world from small to great, all societies, lands, and times. It produces exiles and nomads across the face of the earth. Some of these disappear and are quickly forgotten. Others fill the human memory with tales of tragedy. Peoples called Gypsies are pressed out of denying human flesh, to wander poor. Others called Jews are pressed out the same, yet prosper.
The same pattern profiles all who enter the world of men. ‘You are one of us,’ or ‘You’re not one of us.’ Among those pressed out the pattern never ceases reasserting itself. Though everyone is excluded at least once, most find a hole where they can find comfort, and out of which they can afflict yet others. Never learning what exclusion means as they deal it out, quickly forgetting once having been strangers.
Nothing that happens to us, good or bad, is without final victory. Everything that happens to us, good or bad, can utterly destroy. All things rush to their conclusion as a mighty stream races to hurl itself over the cataract, but we are not carried along as helpless victims. The cataract pours, and we are hurled over the edge, and only victory or annihilation awaits us. Whether we are wanted, or unwanted, it waits.
Mate, parents, relatives, friends, acquaintances, associates, co-workers, team members, co-religionists, fellow citizens, mere humans, from one to multitudes, ‘You are one of us,’ or ‘You’re not one of us, get out!’ Rarely spoken by words in this age of political correctness and kindness that kills, the threshing floor of these less than angels continues to mutilate and trash souls born to love, dividing them from life.
Luckily or unluckily we have been granted life. Gratefully or ungratefully we have no choice but to accept it. Mercy upon our tormentors and upon us. Peace upon those who turn us away at the door, and upon us when we refuse welcoming, knowing or unknowing. The lying threshing floor has no power over the truthful wheat rejected as chaff. Live expecting to hear words finally from Him,
‘You are one of Us.’