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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Labels (01/05/04)

TITLE: Do You Read Me?
By Jacqueline Odom-Bullock
01/06/04

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“Jerry the wino” is what we called him. He was always indeed drunk but he was kind and friendly. I claim that I knew him for years from growing up in the neighborhood. However, I really didn’t know him. I only knew what I saw. I had left the neighborhood and did not return for several years. When I returned to the neighborhood, I was on my way to the store one day. There was Jerry standing on the corner as usual, only this time he wasn’t drunk. He spoke to me without a slur nor did he smile as his usual self. When I returned from the store, I told my sister that I had saw Jerry the wino and he wasn’t even drunk. My sister laughed at me. “No you didn’t,” she said. “What do you mean?” I replied. What you saw was Jerry’s twin brother. Jerry died about two years ago. I instantly became sympathetic. Jerry was a twin? He was his mother’s and his father’s child. He was someone who was loved. I never knew these things. Why? Because he was labeled as “Jerry the wino.” That is all I ever knew him as.

Labels are used to describe or identify. We often look at one’s actions and place a label on them. When companies produce products they come with labels. We can read them and determine it’s self worth, if it is good or bad. But in people we often miss. Do we read people before we label them? And why should we? Is it right or wrong? It is just another way of characterizing and being judgmental. It’s all the same as name calling and putting someone on a pedestal by the same token.

Let us learn to describe and identify each other as God’s children. That is how God labels us. He sees us as his own and labels us with love. If you don’t believe me read the book labeled the Bible.


Member Comments
Member Date
Kathy Pollock01/15/04
Powerful illustration of our failure to "know" people. Like your ending.
L.M. Lee01/18/04
i think the hardest thing to do in life is see ourselves with God's label on us.