Usually I don't use my blog for rants or to vent, but today I feel I will make an exception. I wanted to share what happened while shopping at Wal-mart. Eden started running a fever this afternoon, so I ran to pick up some ibuprofen. While in the children's medicine section I saw two women searching for something. The elder of the two has bent over a walker and was searching without any luck. She asked if I worked there and I said no, but that I would be happy to help her find what she needed. She told me the two items she was looking for and went to sit in the pharmacy waiting area. Her daughter and I went searching for the medicines. The daughter thanked me for being willing to help. And we went off separately to search for the medicine.
After a few minutes, I located both the medicines and gave them to the older woman. She thanked and I walked off. Her daughter had not yet returned. I went back to the children's aisle to get Eden's medicine and while leaving saw that the daughter still hadn't returned and the elder lady was trying to stand, but couldn't get up.I was disappointed that the people near her were not helping and ran over to help her stand. I asked if I could get her a wheelchair, and she said she would like a motorized wheelchair. I left my stuff and went to the front of the store and asked if I could get one. The greeter told me they only had two and they were both in use.
When I returned to the pharmacy the daughter had returned and I let her know they had regular wheelchairs, but the motorized ones were being used. She said, "well then someone would have to push her." She grumbled something else then said, "You know, it's because those lazy Ni****s ride them around the store." I felt like I had been slapped in the face, I felt a scowl come across my face. But I was so shocked by what she said that I was dumbfounded. She quickly said, "I shouldn't have said that," and they walked off.
I still stood there for a moment processing what I had heard. I don't know why I was so shocked. Maybe because I was trying so hard to be nice and help them and was appalled by her reaction. Maybe it was anger at myself for not saying anything back. I have to work hard at not being sharped tongued and speaking the zingers that pop into my head. This was the perfect situation to let it rip, but I just stood there with my mouth open and my eye brows scrunched not able to say anything.
As I walked around the store, I had such a weird mix of emotions. I wanted to apologize to all the black people standing around the pharmacy that might have heard her. I wanted to to say, I don't think that way!!! Anger festered in my mind for a few minutes. I walked around the store looking for the ladies but they must have left the store.
Then the anger resided, and I began to look at all the people in Wal-mart with new eyes. Eyes of compassion. I focused more on every one's color. I guess I have never paid attention to skin color before. It's not as if I'm color blind. I had just not made it a factor in how I thought about people. So I smiled at everyone. I was trying to be very purposeful about loving everyone I came into contact with, especially anyone black. As if my niceness could erase the evil words the woman had spoken. I was trying to see everyone as Jesus would, loving them like Jesus would. I'm sure I looked like a nut case smiling all goofy, and trying to express love with my countenance, But I was really trying!
As I went to the other side of the store, I saw the two ladies using the motorized wheel chairs. They were both older black ladies. I'm not sure what their aliments were, but they appeared to need those chairs just as badly as the lady in the pharmacy. My eyes welled up with tears as I thought about the daughter cursing them and calling them lazy just because of their skin color, How horrible that she assumed her mother was more deserving to use the motorized chair because she was white.
I quickly finished my shopping and left. While driving home I couldn't hold back the tears. I'm not sure why I had such a strong response to this incident, but it touched me deeply. It's not like this was the first time I heard this word. Sadly, I've heard it a lot more often since moving to a rural area. It seems as if the town I live in is self-segregated, and everyone is OK with it. We have our churches and they have theirs. I can't help but imagine how sad that must make our Lord!
Maybe part of why this has effected me so deeply is because Larry and I desire to adopt, and are open to adopting a child of a different race. Race wouldn't have been such a big factor in our thinking a few years ago when we lived in the city. We have many different friends that have adopted outside of their race. We would have a support system. But here, It's a whole different story.We will not allow Racism to ifluence our decision, but we have
Lets say we're three years down the road and we've adopted a black child and that same woman in Wal-mart says the same ugly thing. Even though we're still in the planning stage, I think that's how my heart took that statement.....As a mother would.
The reality of racism smacked me right upside the head and I was angry, but more than that I was SO SAD!. I worry that my children, Eden and Josiah and any others we might be blessed with, would have to grow up in a culture that allows such hatred to be spoken so casually at Wal-mart. So casually that it can be spoken of openly as if to describe the weather. How sad that she would assume that since we shared the same skin color, I would share her same thoughts. But the problem is so many do!!!
Sadly, people say..." well that's just the old people around here," as if it excuses it! I want to SCREAM. BUT IT"S NOT OK!!!! I want to quote scripture upside their heads. I know you're not supposed to Bible beat people, but when I feel like this I sure wish that would be allowed. I wish there could be an extra verse in 1 John that would read, and the let the light be whacked upside the heads of those that practice hatred! But then there would be way too much Bible thumping going on in the world.
OK So Now I'm done with my rant. Now I'm praying for God to give me insight into how I can love this community. How our lives here can help bring the Gospel in a way that reflects Jesus's love for ALL People! I'm praying for racial healing in our town. I 'm praying people of different races would start coming to our church. Hoping we can sbe a part of the solution, So that our church might reflect the glories of heaven when ALL tribes and ALL Nations come to worship together to worship Jesus Christ!