This painting is about friendship or better – loneliness. We all need a real friend and we want inclusion. But as we might remember from school, being different is not conducive to being included.
We recently had a family from Kenya stay with us for 3 months. They needed a safe somewhere to go in a hurry. And a caravan in our driveway plus my art studio became the refuge. We live in a small fisherman’s cottage and already had our three kids in one bedroom; we had to learn again about sharing even the little space we had. They however, were great sharers. It was we, with our comfy Western ideals about space, who struggled sometimes with the proximity.
But despite some challenges, ultimately, it was a rich experience for us as a family as we learnt how hard it is to succeed in Australia, as a new immigrant on a low income, with children to support. While we are definitely different on some levels, our new Kenyan family are like us in many ways. We enjoyed sharing life together for those 3 months, and continue to now as they are settled in their own place. We are looking forward to the birth of a little Kenyan bubby who will bring great joy and what a privilege to be close to them at this special time of life!
It is good to welcome people who are new to Australia and deliberately invite them into our circles of friendship. We tend to overlook how great a challenge it is if we leave the responsibility entirely on ethnic people to do the connecting in. But if we put our compassionate eyes on, we might see beyond the differences and appreciate people as people, created by God, worthy because He made them; different to us maybe, but yet beautiful in their cultural uniqueness.
For God so loved the world, he didn’t hesitate to step into a different place in order to be with us and to demonstrate his very great and welcoming love for us.
Let’s throw our arms open.