As much as I resist the temptation to stereotype, sometimes it is really hard.We stopped along the highway at a chain hotel for the night, in southwest Georgia - or was it northwest Florida? The roof was indeed red, which should have been my first clue, but it was "cheap and cheerful" as a friend from Britain used to describe places. The carpet was very worn and, well, smelly from the hot humid weather. The room was clean and there was both a fridge and a microwave, so we could make dinner and save money by bringing along some fresh food.
"Hot breakfast" was advertised, so when we woke up the next morning, we went over to see what it was. "Hot" for the u-make waffles, or "hot" for the wonder-bread toast, I'm not sure. But there were also a variety of sugary cereals and the TV was blaring the day's news. Look out for this. Look out for that. Up next is so-and-so with his opinion that will set you straight...
1Deliver me, O Lord, from evildoers; protect me from those who are violent, 2who plan evil things in their minds and stir up wars continually. 3They make their tongue sharp as a snake’s, and under their lips is the venom of vipers. Selah - Psalm 140
The only conversation we could exchange was our own running commentary about the landscaper at the table nearby. He was having a loud conversation with his partner. On his cellphone.
Then I realized that in my judgement, I missed that these are the places that make for a resting place for the weary mom and dad with cranky kids who just want to spend the afternoon in a pool. Any pool. These are the places that are not "stuck up" or ritzy, just down to earth and affordable. You really do get what you pay for. These are the places that employ people who do make a sense of hospitality possible. In their own way.
I pray, "God of surprises, grant me the grace to accept and not stereotype. Strengthen me to take a long, loving look at the real."
How are you seeing through the noise, even when you are souped up on sugar, in this moment?