Valentine’s Day is just mere days away; this has gotten me thinking about love and marriage. Not just any love and marriage, rather those closest to my heart. I’m thinking of my grandparents’ love for one another. In 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a, the Bible says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (NIV) Well, in the great love story that is Teda and Stocky’s I’ve learned that love is not always patient nor kind. Sometimes it is rude, self-seeking, easily angered and often keeps record of wrongs. It often protects, trusts and does always hope. In their case, love has persevered. Has their marriage and love been perfect? Far from it. But when the chips were down and Teda was diagnosed with colon cancer almost twenty years ago, Stocky cared for her. He was patient, he was kind. He was not easily angered. Not an easy feat for a man dealing with a sick, stubborn Chisolm. Now, I see my grandfather in a battle of his own. He is often in the past, but always looking for Teda to guide him to the present. Teda’s love for Stocky is one that I see differently than others. I see that he too is her world. He is the smartest, kindest man she’s ever known. She loves him more than she can put into words. As they are about to spend Valentine’s Day together in a rehabilitation hospital because she will not leave his side, I consider myself lucky to have learned that love is NOT perfect. It is about weathering the storms. It is about loving someone: faults and all. It’s about liking the one you are married to. It’s about creating a history that can guide you back to the present. xoxoxo
So, my hometown made the news. It was not for good deeds done, someone getting accepted to Harvard, no one from there found the cure to cancer…Oh, no. It was because some idiot decided that it would be a good idea to leave a noose and death threat for a young black girl. Nice, right? It’s a real proud moment for me. But, this incident has caused me to think: about racism. Anyone who tells me they are color blind (other than a child), I’m skeptical of. Warning: I’m about to make a confession that makes this white woman uncomfortable! I think, inherently, we all have thoughts that are colored by color. I think when we ignore our thoughts, deny that we have them, or turn a blind eye to others we have a problem. I will admit on more than one occasion, I have locked my doors when a man of color has walked by my car. It is a reflex. It is not right. But, I HAVE done it. I am not proud, but I acknowledge that I am a flawed human. I wont sit here and try to rationalize by saying that I would lock my door no matter the race of the man who had just passed. I am sure that if some preppy looking white serial killer walked past, I would have had a false sense of security. I DO NOT believe one race is inferior nor another superior. That’s just wrong. But, I am human and I am flawed. I try to acknowledge when one of these irrational thoughts creeps up and FIX it. There are stupid people out there. It is sad. There are far more reliable ways of classifying people than by race or sex or religion. Are you a “good person?” Do you treat animals, children and old people kindly. Are you involved in your community? Do you pay taxes? Do you contribute to society for the better? Do you treat your spouse, mother, father, brother, sister with respect? Are you kind? Do you litter? I’m dumbfounded and heart broken. I hear so many people talk about how our hometown has always been racist. I think to an extent, as I said above, we are ALL prejudiced to an extent. Do we have preconceived notions about people who are different than us? Sure. Do we often have stereotypes in our minds of people. Sure. This is human nature. It is when we are blind to our prejudices, that we are racist. For me, growing up in this sleepy little town, it wasn’t about the color of ones skin. Granted, there weren’t a lot of black people at our school. I remember the kids being grouped more by “activity” rather than race. As it was a small town, the groups often overlapped. You had your jocks, band geeks, theater nerds, FFA kids, freaks, and various other groups. I’m sad that for some, it was viewed differently. I grew up in a home where racism, racial slurs, racist jokes would NEVER have been told or tolerated. In fact, I didn’t even know what the “N word” was until I was 12 and that was only because my cousin had to tell me. I had hoped that enough time had passed, that my kids would never know what the “N word” meant. They see people. They are truly color blind. The fact that people inject such ignorance into their innocent children and send them into the world to spread the virus makes me sad. Hoping that peace enters the hearts of those afflicted with such hate. Hoping that patience, love and forgiveness enters the hearts of those wronged.