In that very moment, my heart broke. So many feelings were flooded in my belly, my heart and my head.
First, let me back up and share that this happened this morning. I dropped my son off at school and I had my first client early at 8:45 am but was in dire need of some groceries. So I stopped at the grocery store at 7:30 am. One of my soul sisters sent me a voice message. (a few of my closest soul sisters communicate that way, we all live in other states and even one out of the country so it’s a good way to stay connected) I sat listening to the message in my car, as I wanted to finish it before I went into the store. Just then I see someone coming up from my rearview mirror. My husband has talked with me about being on alert at all times, not in a fearful way, but a smart and keep yourself safe kind of way.
And let me also give you a backstory here, that made me even a little more sensitive today than usual. A couple of weeks ago I was at this same store, it was around 6pm and it was dark. I was with my son and we were grabbing a few items and then headed home. While we were shopping, a man passed me and whispered a sexual innuendo that I wasn’t appreciating, especially with my 7 year old with me. I ignored him and kept walking and after about 10 minutes I noticed that he was following me. It was obvious because we went from the grocery area to the pots and pans and then back to the grocery area and he was still there. I began to get nervous but didn’t want my son to know or feel it so I called my husband and shared with him that someone was following me, he immediately face-timed me and told me to check out and stay on the phone. As soon as the guy saw me on face-time he disappeared.
Now, I will say, I am not a woman that feels afraid much. I consider myself well versed with self-defense and I am also not a petite woman, yet, I felt it this time. I am going to be bold here by saying it felt demonic, that sort of energy. May sound like I am over-dramatizing but its exactly what I felt. When I made it to the car I locked my son inside and packed the groceries in the trunk, and had my phone on still talking to my husband. The guy walked right behind me, I still feel like if I hadn’t had my phone on the situation may have been different.
With all that being said, this left me a bit disturbed. And my husband has lived in Baton Rouge his whole life, and me, being the Idaho girl, he often times has said that I wear my sparkly glasses and he also reminds me (in his words) ‘Je, not everyone is nice and plays by your rules’, he is always trying to teach you street smarts’. So I do always have that in the back of my mind…….
Now, back to what happened this morning.
As I was in the car as I said, listening to my friend and someone was walking up, I realized my door wasn’t locked. I always try to keep my doors locked and I have a new car that doesn’t lock automatically like I am used to. So I reached down and hit the lock button, of course it made a loud noise as it does when you lock your car. Just then the kid, (I call him a kid, but he was probably 20ish if I were to guess) walked right by my car window and as he was still walking he was shaking his head in pure disgust. He also turned around and shook his head and gave me a look that broke my heart.
In that very moment, my heart broke. So many feelings were flooded in my belly, my heart and my head. I realized that he was a young black man and here I am a blonde white woman, and I felt in that moment he felt I locked it because he was black. I began feeling so much shame, and so bad. I thought of my own son in that moment, who his dad is black. How would he feel? How would that make him feel?
Ugh, I got this knot in my throat and immediately felt sick. Shame and guilt began to fill my belly. I wanted to open my door and say, please no, you mis-understood. I actually pictured myself saying “I didn’t lock the door because of the color of your skin, really, I’m married to a black man.” Ugh, really? Even typing that, it sounds pathetic and disgusting, that probably would have even made it worse. In that moment I saw a hurt young man who probably had some bad experiences and right then I really just wanted to hug him. I really wanted to tell him that even if he was a white man, or an asian, or hispanic, green, purple, orange, that my response would have been the same.
All I could do was sit there and bathe in my own discomfort.
What he must have thought about me. I won’t even PRETEND that I understand what he has experienced, and to be quite honest, it hurts me. Sometimes I really don’t like the world we live in and it breaks my heart that as humans we have to endure things like this. Even the fact that I FELT afraid. I don’t like that either.
Oh, how I wish I could just sit down and talk to this young man. To just share my heart and for him to know that no matter what people think, he never has to feel inferior. I prayed in that moment, and even though I know I didn’t have ill will in my heart toward him, the simple truth was my actions made another human feel bad. That doesn’t feel good. So I prayed that God would whisper to him, so that he could open his heart to see that not all people have that hate in their heart.
I thought to myself as I drove home:
If I could have done the whole situation differently, what would I have done? First, I want to remind myself to lock my doors so I don’t have to do that ever again and make someone feel bad. YET, I would still lock my door. Not because of him, because the world has also made me defensive just like that young man felt too. And in that very moment, God showed me that the ways of the world and human behavior has crushed the human spirit in so many ways.
I’m not saying what we felt was the same, because saying that to my husband I got ‘that look’. That look of, Je, don’t compare that with racial tension. My husband has been chased down the road by the KKK while away for a football game. So I have heard the stories and they always make me cry. So I won’t compare, YET the way the Lord was showing me is there is pain in this world and we are all guilty of giving it and receiving it.
This is something I will remember for a long time. It did teach me a valuable lesson to pass on to my 7 year old. I will wait until he is a bit older so he really can grasp the bigger and deeper story, but I want to share both sides. Neither of us were wrong by how we felt, but we do each have a choice if we will let the world harden us. We can still take precautions, but still looking to have compassion and seeing another person’s side. Everyone has a story, and although I haven’t walked in that young man’s shoes I can’t sit here and pretend I understand the depth of the pain, anger, frustration and sadness he feels.
I hope today’s blog inspires you to expand your perspectives through emotional and tense situations. There is always so much to learn from human behavior, but most importantly from our own feelings. And what I have learned and what I know is when you come to God for the answers, He will always reveal to you the truth. Sometimes the truth is not easy to hear, to sit in, or to feel, but it will always grow you in bigger ways than you can possibly imagine.
I will be doing a Soulfood Sundays to share deeper, because this message is so big for what we face in our world right now. Racial tension. It’s never going to get better if we don’t talk about it in a loving way and really try to understand each other. If you haven’t subscribed to my channel, I would be delighted for you to do so. Then you won’t ever miss an episode.
Remember, that God loves you on your best days and even on your worst days. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding, He will never leave you and not forsake you.