I was a mountain biker once, I would like to think I will be again. Four young children and seminary have kept me off the trails for the last year, but I will return. During this previous life I was mountain biking in the coastal mountains above McMinnville, OR and I ran into a fellow biker. We started a conversation and he noticed my artificial leg. He told me a great story about growing up. He lived in the country and his father has an artificial leg which the son never thought was abnormal, this was his dad. The first day of school he got out of the car on a fine late summer morning and observed something that he never expected. None of the other fathers that he saw had artificial legs. This man that I was talking to said it blew his mind to find out that what is abnormal to us was normal to him.
That sent my brain down a path that included the memory of my son handing me my leg because he knew that I needed to put it on to go play. Many of us live our lives doing the unusual without knowing that it is unusual. Like the people that needed to be told when they came to Wyoming what a cattle guard was. People in Wyoming could not believe the outsiders did not know. I would guess that we make somewhere in the neighborhood of several hundred assumptions about life based on our experiences that may not be shared by others, I know I do. I remember the amount of assumptions that I made when I saw a man without a leg when I was a child. Today I would have to throw them all away because none of those assumptions fit me at all.
Honoring the background of those that are around me is a constant work of reminding myself about how often I have stepped into the alien role in my life and been the one that wants to be understood.