Celebrating Diversity: The People of Holden Village

oooo….gotcha with the title didn’t I!  I know you were thinking, Tracy went liberal on us!  I guess I kinda did in ways that I can’t really explain.  They are good and you’ll just have to trust me on that….

Holden Village was a place that God arranged for me to just BE.  It is an ever changing community of believers(all walks of life and faith, mostly Christian, some seekers, some lost)  It is mostly volunteer driver and new people and staff arrive daily.  Each day is a different experience with different people.  You can participate fully and build relationship or sit on the outskirts and just BE.  I just sat and BE’d!

I hesitated to share with you all the uniqueness that I saw because I wanted to be sure that it glorified God.  I think it does as long as you understand that I share these people with you not to be judgmental or critical of who they are but to share with you the diversity I was able to CELEBRATE at Holden.  I know some of what I share may be abrasive to you but hang with me…there is a purpose.

Holden community:

Chipmunks that run around attacking peoples feet and running up their backs to sit on their heads.  I kid you not, the chipmunks are like the village pet, they are eerily cute and strangely cuddly.

Creation man: He was actually “jaded evolutionist” but I liked to call him Creation Man because it somehow made it easier to share space with him in the village. He appeared mostly cranky and hobbled to each destination because of  his bad hips and knees.  He had beautiful white hair and rarely wore a smile.  Until one night when he had a boisterous conversation with a little ol’ lady in the common area of the village.  I watched it all from my porch swing.

Jaded:  In general, there seemed to be a lot of ‘jaded’ people.  When we think of jaded, we mean apathetic or made cynical by experience.  It also means exhausted.  I think there was a little of both, but mostly those that were made cynical or apathetic.

Boy with a ball:  little boy, about 2, always carried a tennis ball.  His parents would throw it up a hill and as it rolled down the boy would chase it.  That was his Holden experience, all in that tennis ball.

Hat friend man:  This man had a knitted hat that was his friend.  He carried it everywhere, it ate with him, it worshiped with him.  All of the village community acknowledged the had as this man’s friend.

Queer:  This is where you may get uncomfortable.  Especially, if you live in a highly predominant middle class white America town:)  Queer is the term many of the ‘homosexual community’ identify with as the appropriate classification for them.  They seem to not fit into Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, or transsexual categories and therefore affectionately and boldly call themselves queer. (Just reporting what I saw)

Man with a story:  Yes, the man with the long white hair and long white beard.  Short and stocky, walked with a cane.  He had a story.  He seemed like a happy sailor or a pirate.  i would have loved to talk to him.

Griswold:  I kid you not, Clark Griswold, from that vacation movie, was there.  He had his shorts hiked up his Butt and his sun glasses on his head.  He had a large family and was always trying to engage them in something.  Favorite one-liner form Griswold to his daughter who was whining toward the dining hall.  “please, don’t embarrass yourself in front of the village.”

Bearded Girl: For some reason God gave this teenage girl a full beard and moustache. I didn’t ask any questions, I just observed how no on else minded either and how her friends just loved her and clearly didn’t let this outward appearance get in the way.  I personally think God created waxing for such things.

Ray”:  My Girlfriends husband’s name is Ray.  18 years ago, he surprised Andrea at camp, by dressing up in this crazy costume, ratted up his hair and road a crazy bicycle over the bridge honking his bike horn the entire way, yelling Andrea’s name.  HAHAHAHA.  “Ray”, the crazy one, was at camp.  Everytime he’d walk by with his fly-away hair and forlorn look on his face, I’d nudge Andrea and say, hey there’s your guy!”

Cry Baby:  Little, walking baby, not yet 2.  Never Happy!   I mean never!  Mostly throwing fits, seemed like a horrible existence. I pray for Cry baby often.

This is a rare community, all walks of life, all with their own completely unique story.  A place that I don’t belong at all but strangely I fit.  A place I can’t call home but is so familiar it is homey.

We don’t see this diversity here in Bend, OR.  Largely, the oddest people had me my coffee in the morning.  Other than that, what  you see is what  you get.  It was actually refreshing to see the diversity and to experience God’s deep love fore each of them.  My circle is forever widened and I am on a journey toward those outside my circle.  Where it will lead me I have no idea.  But as I said yesterday, Francis is my soul mate and this non-poor woman will reach beyond her comfort zone to see what could be.


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