It is Sunday morning, and I’m in my Bible Study. For once I’m not late today, praise the Lord! I ask if I can hold my Church baby (yeah, I have my church baby!) whom I love holding. Her mom lets me hold the baby, and as I’m holding and playing with her, she looks up into my eyes with intensity! Then, before I know it, my necklace is in her mouth. As I struggle to get it out of her grip and out of her mouth, I’m filled with deep gratitude for this six months old baby girl I get to hold; who doesn’t have the discriminating eyes, and sees people as they are. Now, this is not to say that babies don’t have preferences. But these preferences are not identity-based, they’re purely based on the baby’s ability to depict familiar faces.
To any baby, you are a stranger until she decides you’re not, as she sees you more often. The baby starts remembering that she had seen you already, and you might after all, be Okay even as you are still a stranger. She doesn’t say, “Heck no, you can’t hold me” because you’re black, or white or red, or any other racial identity! Or because you adhere to this religion and not that one. Or you belong to this ethnic group and not that one! The baby’s only issue is how she feels about you as you extend your arms to pick her up. She looks into your eyes, but really, I think she’s looking into your soul. Babies are born with such a strong intuitive power. They can feel your energy around them; even their mom and dad cannot escape to this laser-sharp intuition.
As I continue to make faces to the baby, she smiles, and before I know, she’s grabbing my earing and already drooling at the prospect of getting it into her mouth. But, I win this one, and she can’t get it into her mouth, so she settles for her chewing toy. I think she’s teething!
When I give the baby back to her mother, someone else asks to hold her. And I see the baby doing the same she was with me. Then, I get deep into thinking. From a baby’s perspective, are we really that different?
As I watch the Rio Olympics this Summer, I catch a glimpse of the human drive, and the search for all of us to be validated in our God-given talents. It doesn’t matter what race, gender, religion, or ethnicity they are, every athlete has come for the same thing: to get that Gold Medal ! So, it makes me wonder: Why do we make up all these differences about ourselves and others? Why do we block the natural tendencies of human connection and human drive, and make it a race, or gender, or religion, or ethnicity issue?
The only race card we should be playing is the run your own race card! Even as they compete, these Olympic athletes are working to improve their own records, to make history from their own efforts. I’m filled with gratitude to be alive, and to know that I can run my own race in becoming the best version of myself.
And as my church baby reminds us all, in the eyes of a child, we’re all the same, and color- blind has got nothing to do with it. Even a baby can see that you’re black or white or any other skin color; but she won’t judge you from that. You are still a stranger until she decides you’re not. And when she lets you hold her, it’s not because you changed your race or skin color, religion, or ethnicity, it’s because she has seen you around enough to tell that you’re not a monster after all!
So, here is a few pointers for you to have your own Sunday baby so to speak!
- Be patient if dealing with people you’re not familiar with.
- Don’t judge people from what you don’t know; instead, learn about other people and other cultures if you want to understand them.
- Share your experiences and insights with others to advocate for equality and justice for all.
- Don’t make race, religion, ethnic differences, or any other identity construct a taboo subject: Have an open mind, and an open conversation about people’s diversity issues where you see it fit.
- And finally, keep yourself in the love of God – Can I get an Amen!
In the end, how we love each other, and live and learn with one another is what truly matters.
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