I have two sons.
Brady is a beautiful little chipmunk with green eyes and a smile that could launch a thousand ships. His skin is brown. Brown like my own. Brown like his Aunt’s and brown like his Uncle’s. Brown like my father’s was.
Brady’s skin color isn’t the same as his own father’s. It’s much darker. He doesn’t even look like his little brother Eli.
Eli is fair. With lighter hair and paler skin. (And a crooked little smile too)
Most people don’t look at Eli and automatically try and place him in a category. Eli will go through his life living this way. When most people see Eli-they will see Eli first.
Not anything else.
But with Brady… well I don’t know.
Some people might not always see Brady first. There might be a pause. Perhaps even a brazen question-“Do you mind if I ask you what you are?” “Where did you get that beautiful skin?” “Who gave you those curls?”
Questions people might not even think are offensive. Questions from sincere and kind hearted people. Questions not meant to seperate us but are actually innate to curious human beings who love to sort and categorize each other.
But still… questions that Eli probably won’t be asked. Unless maybe he is with his brother.
Questions Eli won’t even have to think about because he will be seen as Eli first and foremost. A fun loving, sandy haired kid with freckles on his nose he inherited from his British grandmother.
Questions that when asked to Brady might leave him feeling nervous or confused or frustrated. Questions that he might brush off or laugh away, but still they might nag at him later and he’s not sure why.
I pray Brady will always be seen for Brady first but people are people. Someone’s always going to ask. I know firsthand.
Regardless, his father and I are trying to raise him up in the way he should go. He knows God doesn’t see color. He knows hate in your heart causes it to blacken. He knows love is always the best weapon to fight with.
But I pray Brady and his little brother Eli are being raised to also think about perspective.
Your sense of reality is not the same as someone else’s. Your fears are different than theirs. Your sense of security might not be their sense of security. They might not understand why that question is offensive or why you don’t like being called that name. You might not understand things about them either. We all live different lives with different understandings and different points of view.
And with that knowledge, wear a new lens. A lens that carries with it a devotion to make all people feel safe.
Psalm 91.4 reminds us of how the Lord will cover us with His feathers and we will find refuge in His wings.
Give people refuge when you meet them. Wrap them up in it, like a blanket. Make everyone you encounter feel safe and secure. Even if they are a different skin color than you. Even if they speak a different language than you. Even if they are wearing a different uniform than you.
Come to them with a heart filled with compassion and with a deep understanding. An understanding that you might not understand what they understand.
But you are still willing to fold them up in your wings and give them refuge.
Or at least give them understanding.
Wrapped up with a little bit of love.