Have you ever been to Murdo, South Dakota? I have. Several times we have gotten gas in the truck stop which rarely has more than two trucks on the dirt parking lot. When you go in the store to use the bathroom, you find discounted t-shirts for Sturgis, a few animal skins for sale and the general assortment of food, snacks, drinks and souvenirs. No surprises other than the animal skins.
I’ve stayed at the Super 8 by the antique car museum before – clean, with no frills. But I’ve never been to the museum. Guess it’s just not our thing. Close by is the 1880 Prairie Town that boasts it’s connection to the Kevin Costner epic movie, Dances with Wolves. I’d like to go there sometime but I doubt we will. My husband isn’t much for spending money on tourist things. I’d like to eat in their box car diner. That sounds interesting. I like that kind of stuff.
This time I got to see more of the town of Murdo. Again, not really a whole lot to talk about. It’s just a typical South Dakota town of reasonable size. Now you have to understand that when you say reasonable size in South Dakota you are talking about a town of 500 people. Murdo also boasts that it is the hometown of Senator John Thune, Republican. That might be a really big deal someday. Thune’s name is mentioned as a Presidential contender.
We stayed at a small hotel, American Inn next to what some would call a honky-tonk. The music coming from it said, there is a good time to be had here. The clerk told us to leave our key in the bucket in the morning as no one would be there – she also said, they weren’t serving breakfast that Sunday. Maybe they were all at church?
We decided on the Star Restaurant for breakfast. If you are heading through Murdo and need a meal, I recommend the place. As we enjoyed our blueberry pancakes, I heard that they were having a bus come in-probably tourists. I thought that was good for their business. A couple came in with a NY accent and the server called her sweetie and dear.
Then she came in. Since I am not sure what is politically correct nor do I care, since she attempted to look female, I’ll call her she. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cross dresser in person. I certainly didn’t expect one to come in to the Star Restaurant in Murdo. I wanted to take a picture, but I knew that would be rude. She was hard to miss. She had rosy cheeks, way too rosy. She had twinkling eyes enhanced by mascara and a little liner. She had an odd hat on with her dyed blonde hair sticking out, a t-shirt, plaid Bermuda’s and multi-culture striped knee socks covered with sandals. She was about 6 foot tall with very broad shoulders. She was an interesting site.
I have to be honest. My first reaction was not very nice. Interesting how quick we are to judge. How quick our self-righteousness rises up and we judge, we assume we know something when in reality we know nothing.
I am sure everyone noticed her – how could you not? She was a sight to behold. But no one stared. No one made comments that I heard. The server greeted her with a smile and welcome. She ordered pancakes too. I was impressed with the people in the café in Murdo. Even in a conservative Western town in South Dakota, the people were polite, as they should be.
But I had to think about my reaction. I didn’t like it. Even though I was polite, I had a reaction. I guess it would be easy to say it was human nature to have a reaction. But then I thought, maybe it was even God who reminded me, that she was a person, a fellow-human being, created in the image of God, she was someone’s little boy once upon a time, she had people who either do or have cared about her and loved her. That put it all in a different perspective.
I was told that education would change me. I’ve also realized that next to my salvation, education has changed me the most. I realized in the Star Restaurant in Murdo, I was changed. I thought about all the lectures, exegetical work and research I’ve done on image of God. My Old Testament prof used to say if you don’t understand Genesis, you don’t understand God or the scriptures. He was right. I see things so differently now.
I am not saying anything about the rightness or wrongness of this behavior. I am certainly not saying I support Gay Rights or anything like that… I don’t know how I feel about that issue. Like everything in this life, it’s not simple, it’s not black and white, and it’s complicated. What I am saying is when you see someone different, when you see someone who is “other,” they really aren’t that different. They are people, fellow humans, just like you with feelings, aspirations, and dreams. They are people with family and people who love someone and someone loves them. They are people with pain, or maybe joy.
Maybe they are just hoping that someone will love them, just the way they are…the only one who can really do that is Jesus. But as His disciples, I think we are supposed to hold our judgment, hold our tongues and reach out in love. When you do that, you have the potential to earn the right to say something, to maybe tell them about Jesus – tell that that Jesus can give them hope, forgive their sins and give them a new life. That Jesus job, our job is to love.