I ran to the gas station this morning and met 5 people along the way. You guys know me, I could have a good conversation with a tree… it’s my nature to make friends I guess.
The gas station I go to every Sunday morning is right down the street from a mission shelter downtown. There are always folks walking to the station from the mission for a pop or a coffee, and it always pains me to know that they are without some of the things that I take for granted.
This morning, there were two young-ish white men walking together down the street, and about 20 feet behind them were two also young-ish black men. I went into the station and got my caffeinated beverage and paid for my gas. As I was walking out, I greeted the two white guys. They didn’t even look up from their feet (no judgement here, who knows what they were going through). I saw the black guys walking toward the door, and I greeted them as well. They smiled and returned my greeting, and we wished each other a good day. I pumped my gas and got in the truck. When I pulled out of the parking lot, the black guys waved and smiled, and so did I. I rolled down the window and said “Stay safe fellas.”
I was sitting at the red light down town, just thinking about the inequity of life, and how so many people will never know the joy of talking to folks for no reason than just being human, when I heard a little horn peep. I looked up, thinking that maybe the light had turned, but it was the car in the lane next to me trying to get my attention. I looked over, and it was a black gentleman and his two kids. I rolled down my window and waved, and he told me he thought my tattoo was cool. I said thanks and we chatted for a minute until the light turned. I waved at the kids in the back, and they waved back, and we went on our way.
It really isn’t any harder than this guys. All it takes is a little courage. With all the crazy racial stuff in the news right now, it would have been so easy for all all of us this morning to stay locked up in whatever box we started in. Those young men at the gas station, and that man at the light put themselves out there, and so did I. Our reward was a little oasis of peace in a loud chaotic world.
Regardless of what side of the fence you sit on, could you really ever look a man in the eye, call him brother, then pull the trigger? If I see a man’s (or woman’s) soul in their eyes, they become my brother(sister), and I don’t care if they look like me or not. I will defend my family. Sadly, right now I almost feel the need to defend my family FROM my family.
My heart is so sad, but new friends sure do make it better. When you make a human connection, something magical happens.
Go make a new friend or two today, I think that’s the only way we can win the Long Game.