Friday, February 12, 2016

Hearts Have No Color

"Hearts have no color Daddy.  You taught me that when I was a little girl.”

This is maybe my favorite line in the The River Hideaway. I won't give away too much for those of you who have not read the book yet & if you haven't what in the world are you waiting on? :) 
What I love about this line is that it has taken on a life of its own with many of the readers. I  have had- Hearts have no color- repeated back to me by various readers. My friend, Richard Busby, suggested at a book signing in Raleigh to sign the books with that caption. I don't know why I did not think of it sooner. 
There are a few reasons why this line means so much to me. The lesson was taught by my favorite character in The River Hideaway, Clarence Wilkins, a black man, refuses to allow the prejudice he endures in his life to change his way of belief that- "Hearts have no color." He teaches this lesson to his son & daughter. But there comes a part in the story when his daughter ventures down a road that he does not approve of & he does not live out the words that he has taught. She turns his words back to him. What will he do?
The River Hideaway is fictional-unlike our lives, though at times I sure wish I could write some of my decisions off to fiction. I love the line in my book because I believe it with all my heart. I believe it because I believe in God- a Father that loves His children. Do you think for one moment that our loving Father considers the color of our skin? I don't. 
I have shared often about growing up in a church where racism flourished. Even as a little boy during the racial conflict that was a big part of Wilmington during that time as well as in much of the country I recall sitting in church thinking isn't this where we should all come together? But our doors were closed to anyone of color. I never shared my thoughts with anyone & I forgot about the thoughts a little boy once had for most of my life. But don't you think God knew that a little boy would one day grow up & write a story about racially charged times? I suspect even then He was planting the seed for the type man I would grow up to be. 
Recently, I heard a message from a black minister who felt the Lord wanted him to integrate the church that he was Shepherd at. It was met with resistance by some of the congregation but he pressed on because that was his directive from God.  The church is now diversified.
I wish I could tell you that I never was prejudice as I grew up in the south or that I had no problem when our schools begin to integrate, or when we were bused to what was previously an all black school I said, "Great. Sign me up." No, sadly I gave into the silly stereotypes of that time. 
But on the night when God showed up to a lost young man, walking down a black street & I experienced first hand how real our God is I knew without anyone telling me that God looked on the heart. The color of our skin matters not. Not in any circumstance. 
1 Samuel 16:7
The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
I coached basketball for twenty years. I was asked often. How many black kids do you have on  your team. What a question. No one ever asked me how many white kids I had on my team. My answer was always the same. "I don't know."
That was the truth. Oh, I could have sat down & thought about it or looked at the team photograph but it was not information I stored in my head. I would hope my boys would say coach just wanted us to play hard, play smart, be a good teammate. He didn't care if we were purple if we just did that.
Remember when the disciples asked Jesus about Heaven & He said you don't even understand earthly things. 
I am pretty sure of a few things about Heaven. There will be no us & them. There will be no racial division. No prejudice. No stereotypes. Maybe just one heart all tied into our Father.

Hearts have no color.  
I believe that is more than a line in a fictional story. 

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