Thursday, March 1, 2012

Two Hats

I have two hats that I wear regularly (really four, but the other two are for another day's discussion).  It is fun deciding which hat to wear every time I go out.  

Now you have to understand that I am not a hat person.  I grew up in Tennessee and don't remember owning a hat until the Marine Corps issued me one.  But a Minnesota winter will kinda push you into a hat; and I have collected a few through the years.  I don't wear them in the summer or in hot countries which may explain in part my hospitalization and near death in Nigeria awhile ago.

My two most fun hats are a Marine Corps hat and a Haiti hat. To the extent that clothes define how people see a person, I can wear one and be a salty old Marine, anxious to talk about the military to anyone who cares to talk; or I can be a "bleeding heart liberal" ready to ask for a contribution to the needs of some sick, hungry people.

Both hats will start a conversation.  Frequently the Marine Corps hat initiates comments or questions from old ladies who have a grandson in the military.  They like to tell their stories and see the hat as an invitation.  Sometimes it will cause a "thank you" from someone for my service time.  That makes me a little uncomfortable because my time in the Corps was so much fun,

Haiti Hat
The Haiti hat doesn't generate as much reaction.  I have to believe people see it, but just don't know how to respond.  Usually a comment (I guess not unlike the military discussions) will come from someone who has been there or who knows someone who has been to Haiti or to another third world country.  They will frequently ask whether Haiti is making any progress, why they are not progressing faster, and what it will take to help them out.  Those conversations make me wish I had more answers.  Maybe I should be saying that God will bless that nation when they turn away from voodoo and look to Him.  I do believe that, but I also see a lot of earthly factors keeping them down and I believe it is our responsibility to clear the way for them.  God did charge us with sticking up for them.

Sometimes I wear the USMC hat when I am going to be around those I think will relate to it - like if we are going to McDonald's at the time that group of construction guys meet.  And if I am going to be around people who have a heart for helping out poor people, I'll wear the Haiti hat.  I enjoy both conversations.

But sometimes I will wear the Haiti hat when I will be around military types or the USMC hat when I will be with "liberals."  I try hard not to put people in categories.  It is not helpful and often you miss so much of who people really are when you label them.  And by being who I am, a Marine Captain who loves the people of Haiti, maybe I can stretch someone's ideas of who the helpers are in this world.

Then again, sometimes I don't want to represent anyone, I just want to pass by without notice.  So I wear a warm, insulated skull cap.

BTW, I asked Rachel where she got her Culver's hat.  Without missing a beat, she replied,"DQ."