I ENJOYED THIS REMARKABLE EXPERIENCE IN 2017, WHILE LIVING IN LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS. TENSIONS WERE EXTREMELY-HIGH THAT YEAR AS RACE RIOTS WERE INCREASING ACROSS THE
“I am only one person but, I’m smart enough to know that force, anger, and violence won't change how blacks perceive me-- based
on my skin color. Yet, today, I learned there is a natural emotion born inside each of us that is beyond-powerful. I’m convinced when we reach out--with love--we can and will invoke change---one attitude at a time.
The little voice inside me spoke today--at the river-- during my morning exercise with Cubby. If you know me, you know I listen to the small voice inside me. It doesn’t happen often
but today----it spoke loud and clear.
Like a baby, milk sustains me. I had no milk to begin this early morning Sunday so, I needed to stop at the grocery store.
The voice inside me laid out my mission. And, it was time to follow instructions.
Two women, both black, were leaving the store as I entered. Neither was
smiling but I smiled and said “Good morning, my friends.” They looked shocked but both quickly-responded, “Good Morning.” Working my way back to the milk section, I encountered several store workers---also black---and greeted them with
smiles and kind words--and it felt natural. This time I said “Please enjoy your day, my friends, and know how much God appreciates your efforts on behalf of older people like me.” They flashed big smiles and seemed so happy when they, too, wished
me a happy day.
And, so it went--- from the back of the store to the front-- as I sensed this calming spirit inside me and-- regardless of the looks of those walking
toward me or standing in my path---I projected genuine friendliness, and greeted strangers with a natural sense of caring--and love. Whatever had taken control of my mind and my body----consumed me completely and---my fifteen minute journey to purchase a gallon
of milk---felt like an eternal walk of faith.
Leaving the store, walking toward my car, a new and fancy car pulled up beside me. The driver asked if the black
car with the big dog inside was mine. The car's driver, a nicely-dressed black man, polite but unsmiling, asked if it was safe to park beside my car. He said he was afraid of big dogs and the one in my car scared him to death! I assured him that Big
Dog, Cubby, was less to be feared than most people but-- I’d stand next to the car to secure Cubby--while he parked.
When the man got out of his car, he
must have been at least 6ft 2inches and probably weighed 200 pounds yet, he appeared genuinely-afraid. I walked him to the front of my car, explaining how I’d found Cubby five years earlier, close to death, and desperately in need of love and attention.
The man looked shocked when I mentioned finding Cubby on the old Pine Bluff highway near a small community called Woodson. It seems the man had been born in Woodson and still lived there with his grandmother. Then he did something unexpected. He asked if I
would help him pet Cubby. Seems he truly wanted to lose his fear of dogs. Cubby was an eager participant and, as always, relished the attention. The gentleman couldn’t stop smiling as he stroked, rubbed, and patted Cubby’s neck and
back. The man’s face looked happy-- as if he had accomplished greatness.
Then, I did something quite- unexpected. I asked the man to share a hug--right
there in Kroger’s parking lot. At that-very- moment, a young black man and an older-white woman experienced a brief moment of shared kindness. We are never too-old or too-young to express love for others.
As the famous lyricist, Oscar Hammerstein, wrote with such meaning: “Love in your Heart wasn’t put there to stay; Love isn’t Love ‘til you give it away.”