The Race that Knows Joseph

“Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” Exodus 1:8

One of my favorite series of books is Anne of Green Gables. I know. I know. It’s old fashioned and sappy sweet–but so am I. . .and there are great truths in those books. One of the best books in the series (as far as I’m concerned) is Anne’s House of Dreams. It’s in this book that Anne grows up and gets married and makes a home and friends away from Avonlea. It’s also in this book that I found a great explanation of instant friendship.

“You’re young and I’m old, but our souls are about the same age, I reckon. We both belong to the race that knows Joseph, as Cornelia Bryant would say,” said Captain Jim.

“The race that knows Joseph?” puzzled Anne.

“Yes. Cornelia divides all the folks in the world into two kinds– the race that knows Joseph and the race that don’t. If a person sorter sees eye to eye with you, and has pretty much the same ideas about things, and the same taste in jokes–why, then he belongs to the race that knows Joseph.”

“Oh, I understand,” exclaimed Anne, light breaking in upon her. “It’s what I used to call–and still call in quotation marks `kindred spirits.'”

“Jest so–jest so,” agreed Captain Jim. “We’re it, whatever it is. When you come in tonight, Mistress Blythe, I says to myself, says I, `Yes, she’s of the race that knows Joseph.’ And mighty glad I was, for if it wasn’t so we couldn’t have had any real satisfaction in each other’s company. The race that knows Joseph is the salt of the earth, I reckon.”

As it turns out later in the book, Cornelia Bryant is of the race that knows Joseph as well.

I have been blessed over and over and over in my life with companions who are of the race that knows Joseph–some of them predicatable but many of them unlikely. I’ve had friends who were old enough to be my grandmother–I even have one who’s old enough to be my GREAT grandmother. She just turned 101 and still drives her own car. She got a speeding ticket shortly before her 100th birthday and told the officer, “Honey, I’m nearly 100. If I’m gonna get somewhere, I gotta go in a hurry.” He still gave her the ticket, and she laughed and laughed over it when she told us about it in ladies’ class.

I’ve had friends who were students. I remember being told that you shouldn’t have “favorite” students. . .and I know they meant “teachers pets.” But it is nigh unto impossible to NOT have favorite students. I have favorite adults, favorite teachers, favorite aunts, favorite friends, so it is highly likely that I will have a favorite student or two in my day. Some of my favorite students–the ones that know Joseph–have been highly unlikely. . .like Patrick who cut Molly’s hair and couldn’t sit still to save his life and Geoffrey who dressed like a Goth and could cuss a blue streak IN CLASS, but was so incredibly intuitive and intelligent that you couldn’t help but be drawn to him. Another was Molly who got her hair cut by Patrick, because when I IMMEDIATELY sent him to the office she said, “Mrs. Langley, I have a chunky cut anyway. You can’t even tell. Please don’t send him!!!!” I still did send him. I had to. And when I called later that night to check on Molly, she was more upset over Patrick getting into trouble than having him embellish her “chunky” cut.

I’ve had favorite teachers–some of whom I still keep up with. People who made an indellible mark on me as a person–the way I teach and parent and the way I live. I can go for years without talking to them, but when we get back in touch, it’s as if no time has passed–and they are now my friends–not my instructors.

Sarah and I were another unlikely pairing–I’ve told that story here before. She is a gift. Sarah’s grandparents were my friends. I would go and visit with them frequently because I yearned for their company. Another gift. I met one of my dearest friends because I was friends with her son my freshman year in college. Besides my own mother and grandmother, she is the woman who has made the biggest difference in how I function as a wife and mother and Christian. She knows this. I’ve told her. But I’ve made a difference in her life too. We have made each other better than we ever could have been had God not given us this gift of friendship. I have yet another friend that I hold dear. We met because I had a crush on her boyfriend. . .who is now her husband. I no longer have a crush on him–though he is a remarkable man–but she continually inspires me by her creativity and her singularly unique view of life.

That brings me to the REAL reason for this post. I have met friends in the blogosphere. It is odd. I’m still a little embarrassed to tell people how I met “my friend in California” or “my friend in Canada.” There are so many dangers in the world–the internet being one of the biggest dangers of our time. Personal information is so readily available and can be hijacked and used for all manner of things that can make us miserable. But this is also a place for us to meet others of the race that knows Joseph. Becky, Linda, Sandy, Melanie. . .these are girls I’d love to have some diet Coke and chocolate cake with. I’ve never laid eyes on any of them, but their souls shine through their words.

Evidently (I read this over at Melanie’s place) the Mommy Wars have been revived in the media. Old insecurities and opinions and habits and hypocrisies are being pulled out of storage and aired on the net and in the news. But here’s the deal. Extremists aren’t of the race that knows Joseph. The race that knows Joseph is a group of people who have those same insecurities and opinions and habits and hypocrisies, but we don’t bash each other with them, and we certainly don’t think one size fits all. It’s not “I’m okay. You’re okay.” thinking. It’s more like “None of us are okay, but it sure is easier to get through this world with a friend.” thinking.

If you’re reading this, if you keep coming back day after day to check in on me and read about Moon Pie Consumption and funny Thadisms, what Victoria has to say, and the current whereabouts of my husband, then you are of the race that knows Joseph. Thank you for making my world a nicer, homier place.

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15 thoughts on “The Race that Knows Joseph

  1. “None of us are okay, but it sure is easier to get through this world with a friend.”
    Amen, friend. I’m really glad you had a crush on John!

  2. I do not remember the crush on John. I remember the original J, I remember S (C’s son), I remember a different J — J.R., but I don’t remember John. I do remember the phone call freaking out about some guy “Tony” that sent you roses and why, oh, why would he DO that, Sarah?

    Sorry — that was not at all the direction of this post. But friends. Indeed. As iron sharpens iron, et. al. Read Prov. 18:24 in my morning reading this morning — it made me think of you, as always!

  3. Sarah- John was like Junior year or something. . .kind of in the big fat middle of Bryan. . .and you were busy in Abilene. 🙂 He, like all the others, had black hair and a “dark, mysterious” thing goin’ on. Yes–I think even when you are old and senile you will remember the original J–hopefully you won’t have to relive it all however. And I think my exact words were, “TONYSENTMEROSESGROSS! GROSSGROSSGROSS!!!!” As iron sharpens iron, indeed.

    Stephanie–I’m sure John is very glad that we are discussing it all so freely with all of these people he doesn’t know. I’m glad I had a crush on him too.:)

    Rebecca–we won’t be poor forever. . .until then, I’ll keep thinking up strange, random questions to call up and ask you.

  4. I love Anne of Green Gables! I’m glad to know that someone else really enjoys those books.

    I love reading your posts. You write so well. You should write a book.

  5. Mike–Ditto. 🙂 The Rileys are esteemed company indeed. 🙂 Especially when they teach you neat tricks like how to spit your gum out of the sunroof of a moving car. . .I am referring to our trip to Kerry Holder’s wedding, and I actually think it was Kevin who did that. I also recall Sarah and I begging you to stop at McDonald’s to get some food on the way home. You had to repeat our order several times to the box speaking more slowly and enunciating more clearly with each need to restate, and Sarah quitely warned me, “If they ask us to pull up and wait, Katy bar the door!” And once we HAD our food, Mignon said, “McDonald’s icecream has no taste. It is merely the vehicle to get the melted caramel to your mouth.”

    You also, in reference to one of the initialed males in Sarah’s comment, admonished me to, “hie your skirts about you and run.” Don’t you just love that fact that though Sarah and I share NO DNA, we both have minds like steel traps?

  6. I was sitting next to one of my friends in Bible Class yesterday and it came up how old she was. I’m 13 years older than her!! 13 Years!! How can that be? I can I be so much older and still like to hang with her!!

    Now I know – “our souls are the same age” and we’re of the “race that knows Joseph.”

  7. How can I say this … I don’t know if I’m the Linda in this post or not because the link goes to Becky’s place, but whether I am or “amn’t,” as my girl used to say, I just want you to know that I feel a kindred spirit with you. I love coming here regularly. Blessings!

  8. Linda was, indeed, the Linda of my post. . .but I flubbed up her linkage. . .it is fixed now, or you can click on her name above this comment. Please run over to her blog where you can read all about the biggest biceps on a female in Indiana, and where the mystery of the Monkey Nut is solved once and for all.

  9. Pingback: Still holds true. . . « It be's that way sometimes.

  10. Beautiful. Stumbled on this blog. I have a friend with whom we discuss being “of the race that knows Joseph” or kindred spirits. I will share this with her.

  11. I love Anne of Green Gables! I use the term, “race that knows Joseph.”. I typed it in Google to find a reference and found this neat blog! Thank you. 🙂

  12. In my Bible study, we have reached the marvelous story of Joseph. I made me remember Anne’s book, so I was so rewarded by finding this blog. I think my definition of the race is going to be more severe, because Joseph set such a high standard of humility, forgiveness, wisdom and God’s power. Thank you!

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