Sunday, October 10, 2010

Same Kind of Different as Me

It would be inaccurate to deny that this book pulled at my heart. I firmly believe there are perfect times in life when a certain book will have more of an impact on you than other times. The place and season of your life will affect your reading. When you read a book, you become part of the story. As you read, you begin to know the characters. As you progress through the book, the story becomes part of you (at least for the duration of the book). No matter whether it takes you a day, week or may be a couple months, each time you pick it up time has elapsed in your own life and molded your attitude and feelings. But the great part is, the story is still there. The characters are alive just the way you left them. You can jump back into the story without altering it by your own life. But there are times in our own lives when a song, dance, performance or story draws out a deeper experience in us. The expressions in art are meant to captivate, inspire, convict and move us beyond what simple speech cannot complete. I have a great respect for art and it's ability to bring us outside our own world. This book brought me to that place.

Honestly, I was not expecting this from this book. I've wanted to read it for over a year, and I've had multiple people recommend it. It is a story of "a modern-day slave, an international art dealer and the unlikely woman who bound them together". I have picked it up several times in bookstores and seen the pictures of the authors, Ron Hall and Denver Moore. They are two men who had nothing in common: an art dealer from Fort Worth and a homeless man who migrated from Louisiana. I grew up around Dallas and lived in Texas for 21 years. I've lived in Colorado for only a couple months, but reading this book took me back to the DFW metroplex. Reading about the landmarks of the area that I was so familiar with gave me an extremely personal connection from the beginning. I know the land of Texas and I know Texans. First, this book caused me deeply to miss home. It examines the two types of relationships I find most powerful: friendships and marriage. While I have no experience in the second field, the first is extremely vital to me. The importance of relationship in this book is evident on every page. Denver describes it this way, "I heard that when white folks go fishin they do somethin called 'catch and release....I just can't figure it out. 'Cause when colored folks go fishin, we really proud of what we catch, and we take it and show it off to everybody that'll look. Then we eat what we other words, we use it to sustain us. So it really bothers me that white folks would go to all that trouble to catch a fish, then when they done caught it, just throw it back in the water... So, Mr. Ron, it occurred to me: If you is fishin for a friend you just gon' catch and release, then I ain't go no desire to be your friend."

This is a powerful memoir of three people who meet unexpectedly and change the lives of people beyond their own circles of friends. It is a story of a marriage and a family rocked by the worst of life. It is a story of the power of kindness and compassion in one community. It is a story about a legacy that motivated and transformed a mission to help feed the homeless. But ultimately, it is a story of God's grace and love.

It is a books that made me stop and wipe tears from my eyes because I could not see the words on the page. I highly recommend this book and pray that this story may reach your heart as it did mine.