Hunting the Hummingbird - by David C Hoffman

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Can I tell you something?

I've had to take a "Media Fast" for the last few days.

I had to do the same thing after the Paris attacks. 

It was evening in the Middle East when the news broke about the horrors occurring in Orlando. 
I read a few news articles about what was going on. 
I switched over to Facebook to read people's stories and links.
I was only able to read a few before I had to close my laptop.
I went to bed shortly after, and cried.
I cried for the LGBTQ community, and how much hate they've had to endure. My heart was - is - broken for them, beyond all doubt.
And my heart broke anew when I read the words of a current U.S. Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, starting up his usual rhetoric about banning Muslims from the United States.
I cried so hard that I had to flip my pillow over in search of a spot not soaked with tears.

When I logged back in the next morning, it was more of the same.
I quickly realized if I was going to be able to focus on anything else - including mothering my children - I was going to have to go for a full Media Blackout.

Because of this:
When you talk of banning Muslims from the United States - the Land of the Free - you are talking about my friends.

You are talking about this woman, who literally spoon fed me my broth when I was lying in a hospital bed post surgery...

...who has my made children feel included and loved them as her own...

...who took me under her wing and showed me and my children around our area when everything and everyone was new to us...

You are talking about so many of the women who lovingly cooked and delivered my family meals after my surgery.

You are talking about my friends.

You're talking about these men. These firefighters who welcomed our children on a homeschooling field trip, and taught them about fire safety and showed them a wonderful time in the process...

You are talking about my sweet friend who, upon hearing I had an upcoming date night to celebrate our 12 year wedding anniversary, gave me this beautiful shawl to wear - and keep - for my special night...

You're talking about the women, the fellow mommas, who have helped my children learn. Who have looked out for my babies to make sure they always feel included...

You're talking about this man, who my children consider a friend. They even invited him to their birthday party, and not only did he take several hours off work (mid-day, on a weekend = prime taxi hours) to come to their party, but he purchased them a present all wrapped up. This man who doesn't even have his own room, and sends nearly every penny back to his family in his home country. 

You're talking about my friends.

You are talking about my children's friends, who bring them so much love and laughter...

...who embrace them. Share their toys with them. Make them feel welcome...

You are talking about this sweet boy, who saw my daughter playing on the floor, and without saying a word, went and got blankets off his bed for her to sit on while she played. 
"The floor is cold" he replied.

You are talking about this amazing Tball coach, who taught our kids with such patience and encouragement...

You are talking about my friends.

You are talking about my husband's students...who have welcomed him. Encouraged him. Complained to him about the homework he assigns. Listened to him. Learned from him.

You're talking about his co-workers...who have quickly accepted him as a colleague, and made him feel like a welcome part of the team...

I had to close my laptop - and avoid all forms of social media and news sources for several days - because I could not handle the hatred I was reading. The hate based on ignorance.
I had scrolled through Facebook and read comment after comment that spewed that hatred towards Muslims.The comment that got to me the most was this one: "... pray that Muslims will stop treating all women as non persons including their wives and daughters" 

To anyone who believes this to be true about Muslims, I ask you, how many Muslims do you know? I mean, actively know? and share life with?

Fresh, hot tears sprang from my eyes. My fingers wanted to fly so fast in response that I swear smoke would have come off my keyboard.
Do I know Muslim men that treat women disrespectfully? Yes. I will tell you in all honesty that I certainly do.
But guess what? I will tell you in that same honesty that I know Christian men who do the same.

By far, the majority of the Muslim men I know are loving and selfless towards all women, especially their wives and daughters. 
They are fathers who get up with their infants and toddlers in the middle of the night, so their wives can sleep. They are men who work a full day and then come home and do the dishes. They are men who handle dinner, bath and bedtime with the kids so that their wives can join up for our Mom's Night Out. They are the daddies (or "Baba" in Arabic) who I run into in the grocery store, trucking around their three year olds because their wife decided she wanted to paint and rearrange the living room that day, and they shrug their shoulders and smile sheepishly as they say, "What she wants, she gets!"

The great Glennon recently wrote:

"One of my guiding leadership principles is this: “The most revolutionary thing you can do is introduce people to each other.”

Here’s why: I really think that prejudice and dislike are usually misunderstandings based upon ignorance of each other’s hearts. I really think that to truly know someone -- to truly truly know someone -- is to love her. Fear can't survive proximity. Hate can't survive a real conversation between two vulnerable, humble, honest human beings."

If you are afraid of Muslims, or believe they should be banned from the United States, I need to ask you, how many Muslims do you know? I mean, really know? 

Muslim is not a word to be feared. Extremist is. 

Islam is not something to be afraid of. Radicalism is. 

And tell me how you can read statistics like this, that say more Americans have died in the past 50 years of gunshot wounds than every U.S. war combined, and then tell me how banning Muslims from the U.S. will fix that problem. 
Tell me how that is a Muslim issue.
Tell me how that is an Islam issue.
Hell, tell me how that is even a religious issue at all.

Tell me how banning Muslims in the U.S. would have prevented Columbine
Or so many, many others.
Show me how Islam had anything to do with those atrocities.

Do you know what my little family was doing the very evening before the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history?
We were sharing in a special meal, Iftar, the breaking of Ramadan fasting in the evening, with my Muslim friends and some of their Muslim friends.
They had invited us over to be their guests and join with them in their celebration.

And it was not an effort to convert us. This was about welcoming friends into their home. We sat and broke bread together, and appreciated all that we had in common.
All that we share in life.
One woman and I discussed our broken hearts for orphans, and how we hope to adopt someday.
Another woman and I laughed about how we still manage to have one or two of our children crawl into bed with us at night.
We collectively lamented the fact that our toilets refuse to clean themselves.
We talked about how much screen time we allow our kids.
We talked about how we worry about separation anxiety in our little ones, and how to handle it.
We talked about our experiences giving birth.
We talked the differences between Christian fasting and Muslim fasting.
We talked about different recipes.
We talked about life.

The entire evening, which went late into the night, was so much fun, and my heart was so full after being welcomed into such an intimate experience.
And not just welcomed, embraced. 
Looked out for.
My friend who hosted had sweetly sent me a text the previous day so I had a general idea of what to expect that evening - to make sure we'd be as comfortable as possible - and even invited David to attend the evening prayers at the mosque with the men. Of course, he was not expected to, but she wanted him to know he was invited. 
He was very interested in tagging along, and had a great experience. My friend's husbands, along with the new friends we'd just met earlier that evening at her house, made sure David felt comfortable at every turn, helping him through all the steps of washing and prayers and giving him the front seat in the car. They treated him as an honored guest.

These friends know we are Christians, and they know we're committed to it for life. They respect that, just as we respect that they are Muslims. When the conversations turned to religion, it was simply in desire to learn from each other, never change each other.
Mutual respect.
A love that both our religions require in their teachings.

As a Christian, I am called to love my neighbor as myself. God is just so incredibly clear about that. 

But if you are not Christian, or religious at all, perhaps I can appeal to you on simply a humanitarian front...
If you are not one of the half of Americans who support the ban - if you believe banning them is NOT the answer - can I ask you to do something for me? For my friends? Please?
When you hear someone speak about these terrible terrorist acts and link them simply with the word "Muslim", will you consider gently correcting them? Saying "oh, I think you mean 'radical fundamentalists' or 'extremist', not 'Muslim'"

My prayer is that could be the beginning of opening people's eyes. That just pointing out that simple  -yet very important-  distinction could be the beginning of erasing the hate and fear against people who do not deserve it. 

And if you ARE afraid of Muslims, if you believe banning them from the United States of America is an answer to any question, then I want to tell you something...I desperately want you to hear something I have to say:

You are talking about people who have loved my family well.  
You are talking about people whom I love.

You are talking about my friends.


  1. I love this!! So many times recently I have had to correct people when they use the work Muslim as if it is an insult. It is so sad. Thank you for this beautiful post :)

    1. Yes! Keep correcting them! They likely do not even realize the difference...gentle education can go a long way!! Thank you! ;)

  2. Wonderful post!!! Thank you for writing this so clearly and firmly. Human beings are human beings, before and above anything else.

  3. I refer to the "Shadow of the hand of God" for when we see a bigger purpose to why a situation was or is. Your being in Kuwait and being such a GIFTED writer is a glimpse of this. I am amazed at how many of my friends feel I should be afraid for you. I admit that if you were not there seeing, feeling, sharing your experiences I might have agreed with them (that it is unsafe for Christians to live there). Kendra, you ARE changing perceptions one person at a time. Thank you for sharing this heartfelt post and pictures. ❤️❤️

  4. Kendra, you are a powerful advocate for whatever you believe in. We need more people like you -- everywhere. Wish Donald Trump kept up with your blog. You are, indeed, a gifted writer and a compassionate human being. Thank you.

    Love you,
    Aunt Carol

  5. This is powerful. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Kendra! This is beautifully written and articulated. You are gifted both with words and with people. You are passionate and you are truthful and you are kind. Thank you for letting us in! Xoxo.

    1. HI! Thanks for commenting - excited to follow your sweet family's blog! Miss you! xoxo

  7. Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your love.