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Friday, September 23, 2016

Riots Downtown


There are riots downtown. Another black man has been shot by police. People from every point of view are angry and upset  and I’ve had a powerful, spirit filled day. Two black folks have shared with me.

Charles said.

“All I know is my Dad was in the Army and there are “rules of engagement” for this stuff. I’ll have to just wait and see if they were followed before I make a call.”

He took his check and we parted amicably as we always do and have for years.

Mrs. F came in to pay off her car. She was bubbling over as usual.

“Everybody needs to quit all this craziness and stop hating. I went to a prayer meeting at church last night and we prayed for EVERYBODY.”

Alamin, a young, hard working, conscientious African American male I recently started doing business with brought me a client. When he left my office he grinned over his shoulder …

“Later, Brother.”

I was born and raised in the South. In spite of that I have found my way to a place of equanimity based in my love of God and humanity. I have my fears and doubts but I refuse to hate or judge anyone based on the color of their skin or anything else if I can help it.

I struggle not to be angry about violent behavior. I cannot tolerate attacks on the innocent or unsuspecting but I do not hate and will not. We are all children of God. We must live according to that one fundamental truth and nothing else.

If you are angry … get a permit and protest peacefully. If not … the authorities will deal with it the best way their protocols allow.

In the meantime most of us will do business. We will work with one another. We will become friends based on our ethics and our personalities. And we will leave you to your anger in the hopes that you too will find a way to live in peace.

It was a long and difficult day and too late for us to cook so I rode through Wendy’s drive through. There was a young black man working the window. He was tall with long braids and a couple of visible tattoos. I suppose if you saw him in a dark alley it would at the least give you pause.

Watching the young folks through the window work (all within my view were African American) I got misty all of a sudden … just tired of all the hate. I know that what’s happening in downtown Charlotte is not representative of most people. I have lived and worked with folks of all races my entire life, including the military. For the most part we have just been friends or not but treated one another with dignity and grace, as the Lord would have us do.

As the young man handed me the bags of food I couldn’t help it. I shot him a peace sign and said,

“I love you, Brother.”

I expected a luke warm response at best. I mean what the hell, some old guy in a black “beamer” saying I love you?

“I love you too, Sir.” He grins a warm look then returns to punching numbers into the next order looking much like a young boy.

We are all upset. A person has died and many have and are being hurt. I know from half a life lived that way, that anger and violence only breed more anger and violence.

As a grizzled old soul I implore you to reach out … touch a person of another race or religion with the love in your heart and I’d be willing to bet. you will discover that we are all no more or no less … than the children of God.


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