I don’t often write about current events, yet I feel a bit melancholy by the events that surround me of the past week or so. It’s not just the tragic deaths of black men and police officers around the country over the past week or so. Over the same week the loss of two people who I knew, both passing on the same day, our day of independence in the U.S., July 4th, has me a bit introspective.
One was a dear relative that I grew up calling Aunt although she was my cousin. She was only 11 months younger that my mother. Battling cancer her passing wasn’t entirely unexpected, still all who knew her will miss her love for life and contagious laugh.
The other was a friend that I knew from my church. His death was a surprise to us all. He seemed to be in good health, and he like my cousin had a passion for life.
Brevity of Life
As I sat in each funeral service, one on Friday, the other on Saturday of this past week, my mind pondered the brevity of life, as it does for most of us when we find ourselves at a funeral. It caused me to think about what is important in my life. I wondered if I was making a difference.
Condition of my heart
I thought about the condition of my heart. Not my physical heart, even though I did think about how I need to take better care of my body. I mean my spiritual condition. What attitudes, thoughts, deeds…pour out of my heart?
That’s when my mind turns to the events in our nation. Black men losing their lives at the hands of police officers. Police officers losing their lives in the line of duty. The racial tensions that exist in our country today trouble me.
I have a dear friend whose skin happens to be darker than mine. I have listened to her talk of fear, anger, frustration, and many other strong emotions in response of what it is like to live in this nation as a black person.
Her husband, a humble, quiet man who I love and respect, told me many years ago about how he used to own a business cleaning homes. One contract he had been to clean model homes like what you find in new neighborhoods. New neighborhoods tend to be predominately white upper middle class. Like for any business client, he cleaned these homes at night.
I think you can guess how this story goes. Someone saw a black man in a new neighborhood coming out of a home and called the police. The assumption was that he didn’t belong there, so he must not be doing anything good.
Why am I sharing these stories? It’s because, as a white man I have never had things like this happen to me. I don’t ever fill a rush of adrenaline pump through my veins caused by fear when a police officer pulls me over. I have never had someone treat me less than just because of the color of my skin.
I also know that racism and prejudice are not reserved for those who live in this country. Because of traveling and living in other parts of the world, I am fully aware that this evil exists everywhere.
It’s not just a black/white issue.
It is a heart issue.
The reason I call my friend who has darker skin than mine my friend isn’t because of some sense of social justice or business relationship or any other reason but one.
Our hearts are knit together.
The One who lives in her also lives in me.
I am not color blind. I can fully tell that the color of my friend’s skin is a different color than mine. I know all too well that her life experiences are different from mine. But my eyes look deeper than the color of person’s skin or the culture from which they come. In fact, it’s not my physical eyes that look upon a person, it is my spiritual eyes. And when I see my friend, I see a sister.
I agree that things need to change. Change from external forces usually is met with fierce resistance. Yet change that comes from within transforms.
The One Thing that Will Heal Our Land Is Transformed Hearts.
Lord, change me. Renew and Revive my heart. May I see others with your eyes. You see straight to our heart not encumbered by race, creed, or even our rebellious deeds. Turn our hearts to You, O God, and Heal our land.
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