Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 6

I'm upset about something that happened tonight.  This experience seems even more important after my recent writing about race and courage.  

I was stopped at a light in the far right hand lane on a busy Houston street and had the thought that it would be a good idea to lock my car doors.  When I reached for the door lock button, I accidentally rolled down the window so I was looking down at my left hand, fumbling with the buttons.  Finally, the doors locked, just as I looked up and just as a young African-American man was passing me on foot, going the other way.  

He looked at me pointedly just as I looked at him, our eyes locked, him shaking his head almost imperceptibly, me not yet comprehending what had just happened.  Then the moment was over.  He passed me, I realized what he had just experienced--a middle-aged white woman locking her car door just as he walked by--and then it was over.  

I'm not going to pretend that I know what that feeling is like.  A black friend of mine from high school and college told me once, "You have no idea what it feels like to know every time you walk into a room full of white people that someone hates you, someone is afraid of you, someone doesn't think you belong there and you don't know who."  He was right--I have no idea.  

I think that what happened tonight was an unfortunate coincidence, a painful misunderstanding.  Most of all, I regret not having any way to make it right.  I prayed for that young man and his heart because it was all I could do.  I hope he can turn his brief experience with me into irritation and not anger, frustration but not cynicism.  And I pray for the day that the hurts aren't so close to the surface, when it is not so easy to wound each other by accident.


Crystal said...

Sad to say, that I have many experiences like that. However, for unfortunate coincidences, regret is not what God would want you to feel. He would want to take the oppertunity to pray for others. The emotion of regret is such a human feeling that, in my personal opinion, is where the devil can have fun. We need to not regret. We need to take any oppertunity to make right, if we can not , we need to pray. There are so many unfortunate coincidences to be had and make into oppertunities for prayer and love. We can think of it as God put this life experience in your life for a reason, and then seize the oppertunity for His calling!! I love you, Trisha!!

Janet said...

As I read your post, I remembered what it felt like to be a woman who grew into voice within a church whose theology said that my words were not trustworthy, suspicious,simply because I am a woman. It was very, very painful, especially since I understood the perspective and sincerity of those who saw me as "dangerous" even as all I felt within was love and compassion and pain.