an earnest and gracious heart

This post is part of a series this year, writing posts for my adult children on their birthdays.

Michael and Karina
I grew up in a really white world, where “mixed” marriages were frowned upon.

When I was in seventh grade I had a crush on a girl from Korea and my mom was very “concerned.” What if I grew up and married her? How unfair that would be to the children?

Mom’s concerns reflected the world she knew, and the world where I grew up, where the schools and even the beaches in south Florida were still segregated. But I’m so glad we are over all that.

Culturally because such attitudes hardly reflect the kingdom of God, where there is “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).”

And personally because our son’s marriage to Karina is one of the best things that ever happened to our family. Her Mexican heritage has enriched our lives. And I’m not just talking about her guacamole.

Certainly the nuances of her tastes and vision are different: different foods, different colors, different values. Her sense of time, her pride of family, her understanding of motherhood and even masculinity, are all touched by her heritage.

Karina literally has it both ways. Raised in middle-class suburbia outside Chicago and yet a native Spanish speaker, she sees the world from two perspectives. And this is good for all of us.

Or at least for me. She approaches some things with caution that I might approach without thinking. She is sensitive to injustice and prejudice in ways that are essentially invisible to me, and she wears these sensitivities lightly, with humility and even humor.

Our cultures shape how we view the world and how we communicate, of course. But people with two cultures can sometimes be more objective about both of them, since they have another place to stand and observe. This wisdom frames Karina’s practical, thoughtful approach to life.

Karina and Elena
And it is a blessing to our son and to our granddaughter Elena to know both of her worlds.

It is a blessing to all of us, touched as we are by her earnest and gracious ways. She helps us see things we might not otherwise see. And to appreciate things we might not otherwise even notice.

I doubt it was easy for her to enter into our world, with its strange tastes and smells and rhythms. But I’m glad she did.

So today, on her birthday, I want to say how grateful I am that our world is enlarged and enriched by hers.

Feliz cumpleaños, Karina. ¡Te quieremos muchísimo!

Other posts in this series:

Celebrating a son-in-law, John

Happy Birthday, Princess, Margaret

A daughter-in-law of delights, Ann

three birthday wishes for Christian, son

So here’s to Katie, wife

be that guy, me

5 thoughts on “an earnest and gracious heart

  1. Yay! I’m a strange mix of cultures, as well, (born to Canadian parents, raised in Mexico) and I certainly appreciate the additional perspective, though, plenty of times, it has also caused me to feel like I don’t belong anywhere.

  2. Agree with the seeing different sides part :). My mother is Canadian and my father is Indonesian. There are frustrating stuff of course (especially if there are ‘traditions’ that are opposite with each other), but overall, love conquers it all ^_^. Congrats tu Michael, Karina, and Elena (and congrats to you too!) 😀

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