They were worlds apart; but in a way that only God can orchestrate, their lives became intertwined together. Same Kind of Different as Me is their story.
I enjoyed this book on many levels. Written from alternate points of view, the book doesn't hold back on portraying the thoughts, feelings and prejudices of men from two different races. Each man's voice comes through loud and clear as they describe their upbringing and the events leading up to meeting at the Union Gospel Mission. It also showed the esteem they both had for Deborah Hall, Ron's wife, and the grief they shared when she died.
But most of all, it showed how God was at work, bringing all three of them to faith in Jesus Christ and then working out His purposes in their lives.
Since my work in progress, Half-Truths, is also about the relationship between a white and black person, here are a few passages which I appreciated:
Ron, talking about his childhood in Corsicana, Texas:
"In the 1950's the Southern social order was as plain to the eye as charcoal in a snowbank." (p. 22)
Denver sharing his life in the '60's:
"But [if] you go down to Louisiana right now, and take a drive on down the back roads in Red River Parish, and you might be able to see how a colored man that couldn't read and didn't have no radio, no car, no telephone, and not even 'lectricity might fall through a crack in time and get stuck, like a clock that done wound done and quit." (p. 64)
During one of their first conversations Denver challenged Ron with the "catch and release" principle of friendship:
"If you is fishin for a friend you just gon' catch an release, then I ain't got no desire to be your friend....But if you is looking for a real friend, then I'll be one. Forever." (p. 107)
When Denver mourned Debbie's death he talked to her:
"You was the onlyest person that looked past my skin and past my meanness and saw that there was somebody on the inside worth saving... We all has more in common than we think. You stood up with courage and faced me when I was dangerous, and it changed my life. You loved me for who I was on the inside, the person God meant for me to be, the one that had just gotten lost for a while on some ugly roads in life." (p. 193)
In conclusion, Denver wrote:
"After I met Miss Debbie and Mr. Ron, I worried that I was so different from them that we wasn't ever gon' have no kind a' future. But I found our everybody's different--the same kind of different as me. We're all just regular folks walking down the road God done set in front of us...The truth about it is, whether we is rich or poor or something in between, this earth ain't no final restin place. So in a way, we is all homeless--just working our way toward home." (p. 235)
I finished the book on April 15 and tried to contact Denver and Ron to tell them how much I appreciated their story. I discovered that a week earlier Denver had gone home to be with his Lord.
This is a moving book on many levels showing the power of God to change lives.