“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” -Jesus the Christ, Matthew 7:12
Call me odd, but I really enjoy going grocery shopping before the sun comes up. Hate my shopping habits if you desire, but WalMart is my store of choice when it comes to groceries. So, when I get a Wal-Mart experience at 6:00 AM, I have a sense of enjoyment: stockers working hard filling the shelves to ensure the customers are able to find what they need for the coming day; only one or two check out lanes open; an entire store where I make up 25% of the customers on site.
Late last week I was able to participate in such an activity; however, it ended up being one of the more somber moments I’ve had in quite some time.
I went in to get school folders – seven of them each with pockets on both sides when you open them up. I had an interview in front of a board and wanted to supply them with a bit of a packet about “me”. I bought the folders, got to the car, and double checked I picked up seven. Count six! Lame, right?!
So I head back in to get the seventh one.
As I approach the automatic sliding doors to go in to Sam Walton’s American Dream, there were three people exiting. A small white woman and taller but skinny black man, and a tall, well-built and bald white man. It was obvious in about two seconds that the bald white man was by himself and the white lady and black man were together.
How was it so obvious? “You f****ing N***er Lover. You’re a traitor to your race. Drug addict. You’re a disgrace to your race.” The words coming out of the bald man’s mouth were in various orders, but they were repeated and at volume 10.
The lady was yelling back, expletives, and the black man was telling the lady, “Baby, let’s just get [in the car] and go.”
Out of all of the commotion, it was the man who couldn’t change the color of his skin or his situation that was being the only classy one of the three.
My heart became very sad. As I walked in the store and picked out my last folder, I teared up. It simply burdened my heart with a weight that I can’t explain to know of the hate I just witnessed.
It is something I’m aware of… racism. I know it exists. I’ve stated in previous blogs that I have been called a Spic, been in fights with “friends” who called my mom a “N***er Lover”, listened to my grandfather call his son-in-law (my uncle) a towel-head, and been everywhere from work environments to barber shops where racist jokes and terms were nothing out of the ordinary.
However, what I saw on this particular morning saddened my heart.
Over the past three years I have found that we, mankind, have the endless capacity to love. It brings joy to us and joy to those who we extend it to. It lifts spirits and brightens days. Yet, there are people who have a true hate in their heart, a true ignorance in what mankind and the human experience are really about. Again, it hurt inside.
At the same time I feel blessed. While we will all come across these types of saddening experiences, let us be lifted up by the reality that WE don’t have to be like that. Let us find that endless capacity to love those around us – those that we know and those we don’t.
To do so is an amazing thing. Since I have found that endless capacity, my heart has grown and my ability to be a better human being to those I am around has been nothing short of a blessing in my life. However, it would not have been possible without the teachings of our Heavenly Father and also those I love and share my life with having shown me how that love is put in action.
So today it is God and those around me that I thank for the fact that I’m only able to give that love in which I’ve received.