No Shame in a “S***hole”
It’s not like we’ve never heard the word. And although it has been called “vulgar” by some, it is still a part of life for many. I’m not talking about the President’s reference to other countries. I’m referring to that building out back where some people still go to…well, to “go.”
Here’s how it works. You dig a hole, put the outhouse on top of it, use the hole until it is full of…you know, move the outhouse aside, dig a new hole and fill up the old hole with the dirt from the new hole, move the outhouse over the new hole and repeat.
I realize an outhouse is inferior in many ways to an indoor bathroom. If you have ever used an outhouse in the middle of a cold winter’s night and opened the door to find a critter inside, you know what I mean. But there are some advantages. You don’t have to worry about backups. You don’t have to clean the toilet. And if you like privacy when you are going to the bathroom, you will have it.
Unless your grandchildren pull the door open and start to yell and wave their hands as cars pass by.
I’m not saying anyone would do such a thing. Just a possibility.
The practical reality of “S***holes” is what makes using it as a slur against underdeveloped, corrupt or war-torn countries so wrong. My grandparents, who had one of those famous outhouses behind their house, were merely doing their best to make a living with the circumstances they had been given. They also had a coal stove and a galvanized washtub where we all took baths on Saturday night.
However, while my grandparents had an outhouse, their lives were anything but inferior. They worked hard, fed their children, served in the Lord’s church, and loved their neighbors. In time, my grandfather took a second job as a Deputy Sheriff in town, which led to a long political career. Both of my grandparents’ children (one of which was my mother) went to college and when my grandparents passed away they left an incredible legacy of faith and faithfulness.
Obviously, I am proud of my family. But I am also proud of the fact they did all of this even though they lived with a “S***hole.”
I will not get into the politics of the slur that will certainly go down in presidential history. It is true, immigration to our country needs to be managed in an orderly fashion. It is also possible governments might intentionally send their “problems” to our country so they don’t have to deal with them. I get it, and I realize we should be careful we don’t let our emotions blind us to the games people play.
Still, it is wrong to suggest people have no potential (or the implied possibility they have no “worth”), just because they come from an undesirable country. It is also foolish to think the community experienced in such places is somehow less meaningful than our own or that someone from a more advanced culture will be a better citizen.
And perhaps we should remember, one of the reasons some parts of the world can be characterized as “S***holes” is because more advanced cultures have repeatedly used them as their outhouses.
Please understand. I am not arguing the case of immigration. Rather, I am pushing back against the highly disturbing notion that we are capable of discerning which human beings will make us better and which ones will make us worse. We must also remember the stern words of Jesus regarding our responsibility to those who find themselves in a “S***hole” (Matthew 25:31-46). I know, Jesus didn’t use the word! Or did He? (Luke 14:34-35).
Before we start ruling out what people can contribute because of their circumstances, maybe we should remember the contents of such a “hole” can be found everywhere. Just because we have processing plants to keep things sanitary doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
What can I say?