That’s when it hit me. I wasn’t drawn to the blonde women because they were different than I was. They looked, acted, spoke, smelled and walked differently than I did. And their names– even their names are blond! Linda White, Susan Jones, Lisa Smith, Pam Thompson, Catherine Wilson, Kim Short.  (Straight off the roster of the D.A.R. –No relation whatsoever to Fellini.) I had spent almost four decades in settings where there was little or no diversity. I had become accustomed to “my own kind” (yes, even in a church body) but God had a better way. So you see, it was never about the blonde women—it was always about me. What seemed like aloofness was actually self-control and poise. What seemed like guarded conversation was actually a well-trained tongue. What seemed like formality was a genteel civility. I was thrown into a new culture and I made the foolish mistake of thinking the adjustments should be made by everyone else! To top things off, their beauty and poise was quite threatening. Joking about health and weight was no longer funny. I began to wonder how I was perceived by the blonde women. (I put one in a headlock until she came clean.) She thought I was arrogant, opinionated, and too inquisitive. I had thought I was confident, clear thinking and concerned. She said I was aggressive. I had thought I was assertive. She disrespected my tardiness and lack of organization. I thought I was a multi-talented creative spirit out to touch the world.

       I knew it was time to repent. If you don’t humble yourself, the Lord has ways of doing it for you. My judgmental attitude had to go. The Lord began to show me His “severe mercy.” He taught me to be slower to speak, careful to judge, quick to forgive and more aware about my own need to be forgiven. The process has shown me the depths of His grace and boundless love. I have sincerely embraced the concept of being His workmanship, although I still squirm when I’m being worked on.

          I now enjoy meaningful relationships with the blonde women—and many others who don’t “look” like me. Our senior pastor is an African American and the church is gloriously integrated. Our neighborhood is comprised of families whose ancestry can be traced to five continents. There is even a house with opinionated Italian woman from New York.