A few weekends ago I went to Pennsylvania to speak at the Joy for the Journey retreat for adoptive mommas. Some of the most memorable and sweetest time on the trip turned out to be visiting with a new friend named Adrienne who drove me to and from the airport, a drive of about two hours each way. As embarrassed as I am to admit it, this was probably the third time in my entire life that I’ve visited at length and talked in depth with an adult African American woman.
As a momma of Black kids, it hasn’t been anything I consciously chose. It’s just how it happened. We live in a predominantly white area. I am surrounded by white friends. It feels awkward to try to hunt down African American women in our area with whom to form friendships that in the beginning might be based just on color. And yet I do long for more diversity in my life, and wish that my past efforts to connect hadn’t been so ineffective.
I saw such humor and beauty and strength in the women that surrounded me that weekend in Pennsylvania. I long for more connection with adults who look like my own children. And if I long for it, I can only imagine my children must wish for it even more deeply. I came away from the weekend with a deep conviction that I must do better at broadening my world and my friendships. Be braver. Be bolder. Step out of my little comfy white box.
I actually wish that for all of us– that we all could live more integrated lives- the type of life where we’re just as likely to be friends with someone who doesn’t ‘match’ us in skin tone as one who does. I think we all would be blessed to know people of every color who we honor and value, whose opinions we respect, and whose hearts we know and trust.
That’s actually one of the cool things that adoption has done for our church family. In a Sunday school of 40+ children–ours is a tiny church– there are 8 African American kids, along with a couple Korean Americans. I really hope that the early friendships all these children are enjoying will make them less likely to later make snap judgments about the people around them on the basis of skin tone. I want them all to grow up to be the type of people who know and love people for who they are, and who will base merit on character and worth in Christ, not color.
I really appreciated listening to this 30-minute podcast In Wake of Ferguson: Brant and Sherri talking about racial tension. In the podcast they spoke frankly about reality of racism and racial profiling, and our place as Christians living in this imperfect world. Sherri acknowledged the frustration that can come from hard experiences but says that any anger and hostility is best placed in God’s hands. It’s well worth a listen. I also really appreciated these thoughts from Journey Mama.
Have a blessed Monday!