Imagine the pain of being born into a body that is often a target of violence or torment: dark skin, too large, toothless; obviously disabled, diseased or homosexual; or simply being a child at the mercy of someone bigger and stronger than you. Most ‘light-skinned, right-sized’ people with no obvious differences will never understand what it is like to be hated or persecuted for the bodies we live in.
I’ve had African-American people, men, women and children, see me coming toward them as I walked my Akita-mix, Max, and move quickly away from us. “He won’t bite, I promise,” I said. One woman answered, “Uh, HUH,” and she crossed the parking lot. One man turned after I spoke and said, “Lady, when we see a white person with a dog, we know to get out of the way.” In high school, I read a book called Black Like Me. The journalist, who believed black people exaggerated their racial problems, died his skin black. I can’t remember how long he remained black, but he was shocked by how differently he was treated in the same places he had always hung out, and by the dangerous things that happened to him.
My friend, Anita, says that we each live at varying levels of awareness that are measured by how much we focus on ourselves, our thoughts and opinions, and our desires, and this determines whether or not we even see the needs of others. She’s right, of course, but don’t you wonder if we can do better? Underneath our skin, we’re all the same—same bones, muscles, organs and minds. We separate ourselves by race, country, religion, gender, education, and politics, but these are false barriers, for our bodies were all created by God, to be vehicles for the souls granted us by our loving Creator. This means we all carry within us the potential to be helpers and healers, peacemakers and way-showers to the place where there are no more broken hearts. When every human being on Earth is valued and all hearts are healed, we will know that God lives among us.
In times like ours, we must stand up for what is right. Intolerance must come to an end before peace can reign on Earth. And peace is our destiny.