Coloring in the Lines

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Thanks to Senjuti Kundu for sharing their work on Unsplash.

 

 

I should provide a disclaimer to this post. It is going to be raw, and it honestly started with a text message to my friend today, its on my heart, and so I am sharing.

We all have fears in our lives. We wake up doing the things we do, and go to bed doing the things we do to either face them or avoid them. We either talk about them, or we keep them deep hidden in the soul. Either way, fears are real, and they are real from childhood, to a traumatic event as an adult…

Here is where it is hard to put words, and my friend was gracious when I confessed what I shared this morning, because I wanted her to be the first to hear it, she deserved to hear it from me.

I used to play with a black girl that lived next door to my grandmother in Camden, New Jersey, We would drink our juice boxes and grandma would let us both have orange jello in these glass goblets, and we laughed and played and were normal kids.

I remember one evening on the Fourth of July, that I was with my parents walking in a crowd of people walking to see the fireworks. To the right we passed a white man and a black man, they were arguing. The white man had a silver boom box and I watched as the black man took a bat to the white man’s boom box. We kept walking, but it stung my sight, and developed a perception that looking back I understand, but I wish young me did not experience that night.

When I was in middle school, I was bullied by a black girl, and I don’t really remember why,  but I was also bullied by white girls too

In high school, I was thrown into my locker by a black boy, and he kissed me sticking his tongue in my mouth, but white boys did horrible things to me too…

When I was in Savannah, Georgia before I moved there, my friend and I decided to go to church, she was white like me, but when I walked in I saw we were the only white people there. I tried my best to ignore that, and so did my friend, and we tried really hard to just be there and try to enjoy the worship and the message.

I remember when the preacher shouted loudly how, “ The black children need to rise up over the white...” and my friend and I realized there were many eyes on us, and we got up and left, but though that was my experience I have also had white people slam a door in my face at a Christian conference, because they were jealous and would say mean things about me behind my back, and I have also had white Christians make me feel less than, make me feel like there something wrong with me, make me feel like I was not accepted for just being me…

After all the experiences I have had, I will not lie, I was afraid of knowing black people, I was used to feeling the way I did with white people, but after those eyes were on me in that church that day, I just felt like there was no way that I would fit in, no way I would be accepted, no way they would treat me with decency…….Maybe they were always going to be waiting carrying a bat.

But then I met my friend Jessica, and she was black.

I actually met her through interaction with Beth Moore online over Twitter. We had been discussing something similar, and she replied to us. We started chatting realizing we lived pretty close to one another, and we read our blog posts back and forth and then one day we just met up at a Starbucks in Winter Park, Florida.

All the fears I had about knowing black people went away in knowing Jessica. She is the kindest, most gentle and loving soul you could ever meet. I remember when I received my AA degree on the drive home I received a text from her that said, “ Because no matter what, you don’t give in. You persevere. That’s incredible to me.”
I have never noticed that we have different color skin from after the moment I met her. We have gone to conferences together, she was actually part of my church for awhile before she moved, we have done breakfasts, lunches, dinners, seen movies and plays together….she is one of my favorite people on the planet.

She has taught me what kindness really looks like, she has taught me to let people be genuinely who they are on inside and out

God healed my fears through Jessica, not just my fear of black people but fear of all people.

I will stand for all black people and I will stand for all white people, because we really are all sisters and brothers, and yes, there are evil people out there, but they are also black and white, and I shared my story today, because you might have one too, I share mine, because unless we speak up…

Nothing will change.

Say their names…..George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery…

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