It was like when your parents take you back to a place where you spent some years as a very young child. You don’t know the place. Or at least you think you don’t. But as you look around , something pulls at you, and you don’t realize that a part of yourself – a part way, deep down – does remember the place after all, and is rejoicing at being there again. – Eben Alexander
Does the above description ring true? It does to me. I remember when I returned to Little Rock in high school my parents drove me by the house where I was born in Cammack Village. I had no idea where I was, but even though we moved away before I was four, there was something familiar about the neighborhood. Usually, when I return to Little Rock at some point I get in the car and visit all the homes we used to live in, except for the one that was torn down when they built the Wilbur Mills. I notice that my kids do the same taking their children to see where they grew up, where they went to school, and where they hung out. Each place is part of them.
There has been a lot written lately about growing up in the South. Yes, in my time words were uglier, discrimination was blatant, and people said and did things they still regret to this day. But most people I know changed. They overcame the language, the attitude, and the hatred and became better people because of it. Their past is still a part of them, so it is part of who they are, but not necessarily what they feel or believe. God doesn’t ask us to lie about or deny our past, he asks that we move every day toward love of all. He examines our heart, not where we were born or raised.
This is a difficult issue for each of us. Growing up in the South is not unique when it comes to discrimination. Jews, Gays, Muslims, Hispanics, Women, can point to you a part of this country where ugly language, bad attitudes, and hatred are or were prevalent. We all grew up somewhere where some group or groups were being discriminated against.
This week as we meditate let’s examine our hearts and pray for understanding of all people. I’ve found understanding and association overcomes preconceived notions. But also don’t kick yourself about your past. It was not of your choosing where you were born and into what attitudes you were raised. It is part of who you are, and overcoming prejudice is much more important than denying it exists. Let God be your guide, not public opinion.
Editor’s note: Sorry for the seriousness. I’m not sure what got into me.