I woke up today at 3AM and could not go back to sleep. I lamented over eating a whole pizza because of being stressed. I apologized over and over again to God, and resolved to receive His forgiveness and move on.
Then a song came to mind. You may have heard it, it’s called We All Bleed the Same by Mandisa. (watch video here) These specific lyrics came to mind:
Tell me who are we to judge someone by the kind of clothes they’re wearin’,
or the color of their skin?
Are you black, are you white, aren’t we all the same inside?
Father, open our eyes to see, we all bleed the same.
Yes we do (bleed the same), and if more people lived with that understanding our nation and churches would be such different places!
After the song, random and seemingly unrelated memories floated through my mind (you know how a wandering mind is in the middle of the night!), including an old memory that I have shared countless times, one that always makes my heart smile.
On February 13th, 1992, I came home around 9:30 at night to find my beloved cat, Tigger, dead on the dining room floor. He had been sick, and was frozen in a position like he was trying to get up and greet me.
Sobbing hysterically, I called my dear friend Andy from work. He finally calmed me down enough to understand what happened, and told me he and his friend Jim would be right over. Andy lived 45 minutes away and it was a work night. I could not believe he would drop what he was doing just for me, but he did!
When they arrived I greeted them with a fresh round of sobbing. Andy gently took control and asked me what I wanted to do, then led me through the next steps. With his help I wrapped Tigger up and put him in a shoebox for his burial. By this time it was close to midnight on a very gloomy and rainy night.
With shovels in hand and an umbrella to keep me out of the rain, Jim led the way with Andy and me following behind, Tigger’s box lovingly cradled in my arms. They dug a deep hole in the muddy ground, and with a few words and tears, we laid Tigger to rest.
We went back in and dried off, and they stayed for a little while longer to make sure I was OK. Exhausted, emotionally drained, and incredibly grateful, I fell into bed as soon as they left.
I’ve always loved telling that story, especially the part about me and two big guys with shovels heading into the woods so late on a rainy night with a box, and coming back out without it. I laugh at what the neighbors or anyone else who witnessed us would have been thinking. I imagine a smile on your face as you read this, along with a tear or two if you’ve ever lost a beloved pet.
But, I didn’t always share the story the way you just read it. I added one small word to that last paragraph: …”especially the part about me and two big black guys”….
Yes, Andy is a black man, and so is his friend Jim. And I am a white woman.
Did you get a different picture in your mind, knowing they are black and I am white? Did you feel something different in your heart?
I am ashamed to say I did. Until today would have told you I was just giving a description of them like I’d say male, female, short, tall, blond, or muscular. I didn’t mean any harm, didn’t have any ill feelings in my heart. I loved my friend! Yet…
Even as I write this, other memories come to mind about how I made assumptions (good or bad) about the personality, character and, wow, value of a person because of their social, economic, or cultural background. I realize how many times I’ve indeed judged someone by the color of their skin, and the clothes they’re wearin’. And we can’t help it – what we think comes out in the words we choose to say.
Oh God, please forgive me for the sin of racism!
I am so ashamed.
Andy, can you please forgive me?
My heart is heavy with sorrow at how I’ve fed the ugly beast that is so pervasive in our nation, and even in our churches. Here I was thinking I was above all that, and wow, I have been part of the problem!
I think about some of the ways people have protested recently to try and draw attention to the racism they can feel but no one wants to admit. Are some of the news items exaggerated, or in some cases found to be lies? Of course – sadly, that’s the news. But racism is way more pervasive than we all realize. I get it now, and for my part in adding to the problem I am so very sorry.
Yet my heart is also filled with hope.
A few more lyrics from the song:
Only love can drive out all the darkness
What are we fighting for? yeah
We were made to carry one another
We were made for more!
Only love…God. God is love (1 John 4:16). God drives out all the darkness. As a Christian, I have that love in my heart by the power of the Holy Spirit. And I have forgiveness paid for by Jesus’ death on the Cross, God’s ultimate gift of love to all of us. I have hope in His resurrection, and with that, hope in the resurrection that is possible in my own heart.
[God Is Love] My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. (1 John 4:7-10)
Thank you, Jesus, for answering that prayer for me tonight – the prayer in the song to open my eyes to see that we all bleed the same.
I am resolved, from this moment forward and with God’s help, to be part of the solution and help bring healing. I want to see differently with the eyes of my heart and I trust God will change me. I want to carry my brothers and sisters, and fight for them.
What about you? Will you ask God to open your eyes?