By Kim Stokely –
On a recent business trip, my husband and two co-workers wandered the streets of Old Town Albuquerque looking for a place to eat. The guide book had said this was an eclectic section of the city filled with delightful shops and restaurants, but on this Monday night, things looked dead.
An old car rattled up beside them. Like something out of a movie, the driver rolled down his window and asked, “You want to buy some turquoise?”
My husband and his friends looked at each other, shook their heads and the guy drove off. For the rest of their visit they wondered whether the dude was really selling precious stones out of his car or was “turquoise” local slang for crack?
Some behaviors, like wandering a deserted part of town, instantly point you out as a tourist. Staring up at the skyscrapers in New York City or bringing a case of bottled water with you to anywhere in South America are other examples. Here in Omaha, visitors always seem surprised that cows don’t roam the streets and every house doesn’t have a cornfield in the backyard.
Sometimes, however, it appears that just our attitude can single us out as different.
I’ll never forget visiting relatives in England when I was a teenager. My aunt brought me down to her pub for dinner one night and before I’d even spoken a word, the cook asked if I was American.
“How’d you know?” I asked.
He shrugged. “Americans have a certain way they walk.”
I thought about that a lot. How someone could tell I didn’t belong somewhere because of the way I walked.
Did I swagger obnoxiously? Or maybe I slouched in like a thief? When I asked my cousin about it later, she told me Americans walk with a certain confidence that most others don’t.
I’d like my walk with God to single me out in the same way. Not that I want people to think I’m overly confident, but I want them to sense that I don’t fit in. After all, this isn’t my home. That’s not to say I shouldn’t walk in it and help out where I can, but people shouldn’t think I belong here. If I become too comfortable with the world around me, it means I’ve stopped focusing on God. I need to be like the tourists in New York City, my eyes looking up. Not on skyscrapers, but on my heavenly home.