A few months ago, during a July week heavy with devastating loss and racial tension, I stood with my Korean son next to a Black man in a cramped Walmart aisle as we chose boxes of light bulbs.
The man and I joked for a while about the high price of each box, our genuine laughter causing others passing by to look our way. It was a few lighthearted minutes.
Before the man turned to leave he said in the most wishful tone, "You know, and this is just a thought, if more people stood in aisles laughing and talking and really seeing each other, even for a minute or two, maybe the only thing anyone would need to protest is the high cost of light bulbs."
He wished me well and walked away.
I stared after him, tears welling up and my heart convicted again of any and all ignorance and prejudices that seep down inside of me.
It's been months since that day, and I can't stop thinking about the man and his words in the light bulb aisle.
Let us be those people, dears.
Let's turn wishes into realities by driving out darkness one light-filled conversation at a time.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." ~Matthew 5:14-16
Let's examine our hearts and uncover any prejudice that might be simmering there.
Let's be present and aware.
Let's be listeners and inviters and learners.
Let's hold the hand of the hurting, even just in spirit, and weep with broken hearts for loss.
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." ~Ephesians 4:2
Let's lean in and be quick to listen, much slower to speak. And when we do open our mouths, let it be to ask questions, to acknowledge the pain and fear another feels, to offer kindness.
Let's look each other in the eye and really see who stands across from us. Stranger or friend, let us love them well. We belong to each other.
This will look different in each of our daily lives, yes, but love and hope can be spelled out in so many ways.
Above all, let us look to and be endlessly inspired by the One who lived every breath in perfect Love and then went to the cross to show us just how wide and deep that Love is.
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." ~Romans 5:8