If you have not read Same Kind of Different as Me, the predecessor to this book, you can still enjoy this follow-up that continues the story of the unlikely friendship between millionaire art dealer Ron Hall and sharecropper-turned-homeless man, Denver Moore. This book details how their continuing journey and friendship have taken them to some very surprising places indeed–including a luncheon with at the White House! While that vignette itself leaves the reader feeling as stunned as they must have been, even more remarkable is the impact that Denver and Ron’s story has made on readers across the nation.
This book is as much about the readers as the writers. It seems there was a similar reaction among those, nationwide, who read of Ron and his wife, Deborah, and their journey to “the other side of the tracks,” where they volunteered to work with a homeless ministry in Houston. Ron and Deborah thought they were coming to help others, but they learned, as so many of us do, that the grace and presence of God is found in the strangest and most unlikely places, and that there are lessons to be learned from the most unlikely teachers.
Clearly, Denver Moore has been a teacher to Ron Hall. At the same time, Hall becomes our teacher through his willingness to expose his initial disgust, disdain, and pre-judgments for those he came to “assist.” His honesty provides just enough of a nudge to make the reader question,”Would I be any different?” For most of us, the answer is–probably not.
Hall goes further, though, to reveal how much more work he had to do, even once he had dropped his prejudices and learned to love the homeless without condition. Over time he realized that he freely offered them something that he had withheld from his own father for many, many years. In a surprising twist, Ron learns that loving homeless strangers can sometimes be easier than loving members of our own family, but his continued lessons in love are poignant, sometimes hilarious, and unforgettable.
Hall’s startling honesty and Moore’s simple humility and wisdom permeate the pages of this book. Along the way, we hear the stories of other readers whose lives were changed and moved to action after reading the first book: a young girl who opens a lemonade stand to raise money for the homeless; a marriage restored; an entire church challenged to “go out,” and much more.
Books are a dime a dozen these days, but the wisdom in this book and its predecessor make these two worth their weight in gold. There are lessons for a lifetime here; perhaps the most important from Denver, who reminds us, “You never know whose eyes God is watching you through.”
© 2010 L. Kay Johnson, L is for LaNita. All rights reserved.