My heart is heavy with sadness. I can’t sleep tonight. The thoughts of the hatred that is spewing out is incomprehensible to me. I grew up in a military family. We moved every two years of my life. There were years that I was in the minority. As a young child, I was welcomed in the community I lived. Nobody made me feel different because my skin color was not the same. We were friends and we laughed and played like children do. In fact I was the oblivious to the differences. I do have a memory that sticks out to me even to this day. I happened to notice a friend’s arm and mine were next to each other and I remember thinking, What’s wrong with my skin? As a teenager, I again lived in an environment where I was the minority. Things were different then. Comments were made to me that I didn’t understand. It wasn’t that I was hurt, I just didn’t understand. Since those comments didn’t “land”, I ignored them. In hindsight, my lack of reaction didn’t allow for a blow up of words and probably helped me to be accepted. To me we were all just people. I didn’t allow those quips to take root in me and actually forgot them once I had returned to the states.

Raising my daughters, we were purposeful in teaching them to NOT look at skin color rather; to look at a person’s heart. When my eldest daughter was in first grade we moved from one state to another. In the previous state one of her best friends was a boy who was a different color. Neither his parents nor us made any comments or issues about the skin tone differences. It just was and it was normal. One day this daughter came to me and made a statement that really threw me. Out of the blue she said, “Mom, I don’t like black people”. I looked at her and asked why. She told me other kids had said it at school. My heart hurt. I looked at her and wondered what could I say to make her understand how wrong this was. Finally I said to her, “You don’t dislike someone because of their color. I reminded her of her friend from the other state. Then I said, “that is like someone saying they don’t like you because you have green eyes.” That startled her. It hit home. I said, “You want to get to know a person and get to know their heart. Then if you don’t like that person, its because you don’t like Who they are, not their color.” It was never an issue after that.

The point I wanted to make in this above paragraph is that children don’t naturally dislike someone because of color. They accept all colors. They enjoy playing and being friends. Its the adults that teach a child not to like color. In this situation with my daughter, someone planted a seed in her thoughts at school . That child had been taught at home. Thankfully my daughter came to me to see what I thought and we were able to discuss this and yank that root out before it took hold.

Today, I have children who are in mixed relationships. We have grandchildren who are mixed. My heart worries about them. My heart worries about my daughters and their husbands. Love doesn’t dwell on color of skin, it lingers and holds onto the good in people. When we walk or drive down the street we shouldn’t have to worry or wonder if the person we see is looking at us with hate that has been taught or stirred up. That’s the thing about hatred, bigotry, prejudging. There aren’t signs on people that say I don’t like xxxx, or I hate you because you are different than me. With the media stirring things up, the violence that is happening, how do we feel safe in our own neighborhoods or cities. The crazyness is kin to shoot first, ask later mindset. Rather we should be asking questions, get to know each other. No skin tone is superior to another. Under our skin, medicine would have a hard time differenciating the difference. We all bleed, we all eat, we all laugh, we all love.

What is different is our life experiences. We can all learn to appreciate those differences if we would just take the time to listen, learn. We need to focus on our similarities. It’s time to stop judging what is different and learn to appreciate those differences . These differences can enriching our lives. Having friends and family not the same, makes my life better. I love to travel, I love to see new things. I love meeting people and learning about their lives.

Please can we just recognize that people are all valued by God. He has made us all. He loves us all. Can we ask God to help us see others as He sees them, with his eyes and heart of love? Can we just appreciate and value that no two people are the same. God has made each person with great care and precision. Each person has something to contribute to the earth. God made them for just this time in eternity. Let’s look for the special qualities that God has imbrued in others. Let’s be glad we get to have people in our lives that make our lives better, richer. Let’s not allow the evil ones of this world to plant hatred in our hearts. Let’s look for the good. There is gold in all of us. We can all be compassionate and care about others. Where there is negativity, let’s bring encouragement and love. The world will be a better place if we look for the love and share that with others.

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