She sits on my couch for the first time,
and I am all ears.
She's driven by my house a thousand times,
but never have we met
thanks to a "random" encounter
in a parking lot
when her eyes fixed upon Jameson
being strapped into his carseat
by his white daddy,
and she, adorned in beautifully dark brown skin herself,
felt the connection to her own pinky peach mama,
who just passed away this fall
at the age of 93.
"Excuse me," she said
approaching the car slowly,
fearing the possible reactions
that a black woman approaching a white man
in a parking lot
Will he think I want money?
Will he think I'm here to rob?
She reached into her pocket for her phone,
ready to flash a picture of her white mother as back-up.
Instead, she was met with a genuine warmth,
she felt the dignity of her humanity
and the confidence to speak unafraid.
"Where did you adopt him?" it began.
And from there, it was truly the Lord.
A divine appointment in the parking lot
of Yamazato's, of all places.
When she and I live just a street away.
And now, here, before me,
an african woman adopted at birth
and raised by a single, white missionary.
We aren't simply neighbors
due to the proximity of our houses.
But as those touched by transracial adoption,
there is a shared brotherhood among us.
Praise be to God!
Indeed, how good and gracious He is.
I listen to her story I'm hanging on every word.
She speaks with such clarity,
but it's faster than my brain can process
all that has happened in her life.
Her experiences are unlike those I will ever know,
and I can't begin to comprehend the complexities.
She knows what it is to suffer.
I'm eager to listen and understand,
but it's all too much to take in at once.
I vacillate between tears, disbelief, and anger,
not just then, but for days following...
Raised among missionaries in central Africa,
taken in as a daughter when her own mother
died in childbirth.
Among the missionaries,
she was the one with dark skin.
Treated so poorly
by those doing "the Lord's work."
Even with the status of daughter,
she was unable to go to the same school
as the other missionary children,
because of the pigment of her skin.
"Don't sit so close to me," said one of the little girls,
"I don't want your skin to rub off on me.
I don't want to look like you."
who knows what has changed,
but those words still remain,
imbedded in the heart of a grown woman
who must find her strength
in the loving words of a Savior.
"Jesus loves you!" was the missionaries' cry,
evangelizing to the nations,
fulfilling such a glorious call.
But behind closed doors,
they showed no love
to the little girl
struggling with her differences,
empowered only through the protective love
of her mama.
Where is the disconnect!? my heart screams.
How are we so quick to proclaim Christ
yet oppress and dismiss
those whom He so richly loves?
Is it any WONDER her heart later rebelled against the church?
Is is any SURPRISE that she,
along with the missionary's children, (I might add)
rebelled against this faith
that preached a Gospel
it did not live?
Condemnation and judgment
will never move a sinner towards Him.
Only love holds that power.
Lest I begin to think
those things are past us now, or continents away,
her story continues
to the present day,
where people refuse to shake her family's hands in church
or go to the restroom after her,
where service technicians come to her door
and ask to speak to the owner of the home,
where pastors in the large church
(that stresses how all are welcome)
suggest the name of a black church to attend.
In my town. This day.
Because God gave her chocolate brown skin.
She tries to share her experiences, her story,
and it is often met with disbelief and defensiveness.
Some might say she is playing "the race card."
But more often, they're untouched.
I suppose it's easy not to care or understand
when your life
doesn't intersect with
or grasp your own need of
relationships with all types of people.
Her experiences are uncomfortable
I guess they should make us uncomfortable.
But who will listen?, my heart cries.
Who will seek to understand?
Who will simply acknowledge the realities
and begin to bring the ugliness into the light?
When will we begin to see color
and celebrate instead of shame?
Oh Lord, forgive us, (especially me)
for our ignorance
and our self-righteousness.
Deliver us from the caves of our self-centeredness,
and humble us.
Help us to see those who are not like us
as Your creations,
recipients of your ever-pursuing love.
Renew our hearts, and restrain our tongues.
And give us Gospel eyes to see COLOR
and praise You all the more for it.