I was exhausted. The coffee had lost it's kick and I'd just been complaining to her about my alarm going off at 3am. My front desk shift had begun at four and there was no time for a nap between classes. "Is something wrong?" I ask.
She hesitated. "Well, it's just that I thought white girls' parents always paid for college. I didn't realize you had a job."
I studied her face at length, sincerely confused. Her eyes. Mouth. Nothing. Her serious expression gave no indication that she was making a joke about my whining. At that moment, it dawned on me. She was serious. "I have three jobs," I responded, bursting into sleep-deprived giggles. She did too and it started a cascade.
We sat there for hours, asking scary questions and pouring out racial confessions like a shaken soda can that had been bottled up for too many years. Nobody had ever had the courage to say those things to my face before. Nobody had ever taken the initiative to ask her about what her upbringing was really like - a biracial, Christian woman with a brother who thought he might be gay.
City girl. Country girl. Black and white. We had so much in common and of course, there were differences too. But that day, we both wanted understanding more than we'd wanted anything else in a really long time. We wanted acceptance. Love and connection.
Like water in the desert, we were desperate for the assurance that what we'd been taught about one another was dead wrong.
And you know, most of it was.
Please don't believe what you see on the news, dear reader. Take a seat at the table and be open to the conversations that God may bring to it. The moment that we think we know another's story...well, we may not even come close to the truth in our minds.
- If you were brutally honest with yourself- what would be the truth about some of the things you've believed about members of another race or culture?
- What were you taught in your home? Your town?
- Did those stories turn out to be accurate?