I have relished movement as I am able to do more and more these days. One day, not so long ago, I was walking to my car from Costco. I was almost at my car when a wave of white children ran up to me. They started handing me self drawn pictures. I have to admit I was so taken aback by their gesture. There were a lot of them, small and not so small. They were friendly and nice. They were talking to me. At some point I looked around to see in what direction had these kids emerged. Was this some sort of on candid camera moment?
One stepped forward and offered to draw me his very own picture. As a staunch believer in encouraging and affirming kids, I said yes. I realized very shortly after I had said yes I really should have said no. But I had said yes and was held captive to something beautiful. The kid began to draw me. By now I saw a white woman who appeared to be the mother of all these children. She was unpacking or rather organizing all her goods in the back of the van. I could see this was taking some real mental energy. She never even looked my way or the kids.
By this time some of the kids including the baby in the car seat were in the commercial van parked next to mine but that did not stop them from looking intently at their brother’s art project. There remained two kids beside their brother. They were assistants because they would mention and point out things on me he had overlooked. He was working so hard at drawing this picture for me. He apologized for holding me up a few times. Even my son, taken aback, said Mom they are nice. I felt special.
On a hot summer day, 8 kids, who appeared to have been at an all-day Black Lives Matter rally approached me. Out of a whole parking lot they picked me with my brown skin and nappy hair which was not a far cry from their sister with locks. They greeted me nicely and engaged me in wonderful conversation. Their openness and kindness alarmed me at first but I was able to quickly adjust. I am now ranking it among on of the top 5 oddest experiences I have had which says something about race in America. And yet it was the most refreshing and hopeful. I know we have a lot of water under the bridge. I know our history is awful. I know as country we are more divided than ever. But 8 white kids reminded me of what is possible when we keep our hearts open to one another.