We watch the news and form our opinions. The verdicts are black and white and blame resonates like a sword in the hearts of tongue slayers. We try to survive in the melee as the world becomes a melting pot. I, too, see the corruption and complacency. Only in America! How sad to work so hard and believe in your heritage, only to have it destroyed overnight. Racism reveals frustration and pain but my two personal stories reveal something much different.
In 1960, my mother was a socialite in our community. My Stepdad, a rising realtor, worked too many hours establishing his career to deal with children either, so Mom hired a cleaning lady to help with the housework. A black woman, Lilly Best, eventually became more involved in our family’s everyday life. At twelve years old, I learned to respect my elders, regardless of their color. I came home from school and Lilly ruled the roost. Like it or not, I did what I was told to do. I grew up under the careful eye of this woman—yes, a different race than I, but she was one who I learned to know and deeply admire. I never met her family but I know she spent more time in our home than her own. God bless her in heaven!
Then, in high school, my life was occupied in design and architecture classes. I didn’t have time for those who bullied, got into fights, or gang-related activities. But one day on the school grounds, a kid approached me and pushed me down. Carleton Coates, a heck of a guy, stepped in front of me and told the boy, “If you want a piece of him, you’ll have to go through me”. I stood up in awe, amazed at the sequence of events. It was almost as though an angel had come to my rescue. I lost contact with Carleton after graduation. His race was black, but he was my good friend and peer. He came to my rescue the one time I was in dire need. I’d like to find him today and shake his hand.
My point is we all need each other and not just today or tomorrow, but throughout our lifetime. Our lives, through God, receives that of which our souls need. I’ve tried to instill in this message that your birth certificate says the same as mine – a US citizen – we are born equal. Other people don’t determine our value; God does. What we do with ourselves controls our future, so let’s ruin racism—it’s wrong!
If we have God in our hearts, our tongues will sing in harmony. But without His presence, we are merely peasants lost in a desert bearing the sweltering heat, and praying to our own conscience.