“Red and yellow, black and white…they are precious in His sight…”

It was late one night and I got the above message from two good friends…just a photograph that said “It’s a boy! It’s a girl!” I knew that there had been no pregnancy, so I was clueless as to what this meant. I wrote back, “WHAT???” My sweet friend and her husband had desperately wanted to have a child together, but it was not possible. They turned to adoption here in the U.S. and learned that they were “too old.” I just busted out laughing when they told me that! I could NOT believe that was valid criteria for THEIR adoption, but learned very quickly that it was. So, like many individuals in the United States, who want very much to share their love and lives with a child who desperately needs a loving family, they turned to the adoption of a foreign child.

After a very long process, they qualified to adopt a child from Ethiopia. Turns out, though, there were TWO children up for adoption – a little girl and her younger brother that the agency did not want to separate. So my friends became “instant” parents to two beautiful babies. I have watched their growth and “blossoming” in the love of their parents and family. I have laughed at their antics and “discoveries” in this new life. I have watched as they grow into their “personalities.” They have had a wonderful life…up until the past few months. At school, other children are now telling them that they are going to be sent back to Ethiopia, that they will have to leave their parents. They’ve endured others yelling at them, “Go back to Africa!” My heart can almost not take this! I can only imagine what their parents are feeling in the depths of their souls. I imagine my own little niece and nephew…how scared and confused they would be if someone told them they would be taken away from their parents…that they would be sent to a foreign place that they did not know or recognize. I wonder how could you console those babies? How would you assure their fears were baseless? I cannot come up with any solution that would “fix” that particular situation. I don’t know how I would deal with attempting to comfort a child’s very real fear regarding these actions. I mean, really, what could you possibly say? And how would you deal with the anger over someone else doing this to your child? I don’t think I would be able to contain that anger, because I am angry right now about how these two precious children are being treated, and they are not even MINE!!

I have another very dear, close, lifetime friend who married an African American – she was, and is, a very white caucasian. Unfortunately, the marriage was not successful, but they had two precious, absolutely drop dead gorgeous, biracial daughters who I have had the privilege and honor to watch, and share their lives, as they grew to be wonderful, loving adults and mothers themselves. They are simply family to me, and I love them with a full heart, unconditionally. I have nieces and nephews who have dated, and do date individuals different from their own ethnicity and culture. I have Hispanic friends who fill my heart with joy. They work hard, are not on welfare, and have values that are very similar to mine. Although I am from the “South,” and “southern” through and through, I WAS NOT TAUGHT PREJUDICE!

Children are so wonderfully cute and adorable when they are babies. The thing about children though, is that they grow up into adults. And what was “tolerated” as a child, is not always tolerated and accepted once they become adults. Like being Ethiopian…or African American…or Hispanic…cute as babies, but not so much as adults…But here’s the deal, remember the song we learned as children in Sunday School? “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they’re all precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” I have to believe that! I have to act on that! If God made us in His image, then doesn’t that mean that every race and ethnic group is in HIS image??

The God I was taught to love and serve dictates my actions…to feed someone who is hungry; to give them clothes when they have none; to provide monetary support if that is necessary; to treat them as equal, human beings with dignity and respect; to LOVE THEM AS I WOULD LOVE MYSELF!!

Most of you know that I lost my Mama to Alzheimer’s, and I have shared some of those stories from our journey. During one Doctor visit, they were giving her yet another Mini Mental Status Questionnaire. One part of the test asked her to write a sentence. (And with each test, her sentences got shorter and shorter, until there were no sentences at all.) On this particular test, she wrote “I love all people.” I knew this to be true, for that is how she lived, and that is how she taught me. “I love all people.” How profound! And wouldn’t the world be such a better place if everyone practiced this? For you see, they ARE precious in His sight, and as a result, they MUST be precious in my sight also! Maybe we could all be a little bit more loving and accepting during our journey on this earth. Won’t you join me? Just for this week…

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Dear Lord, save me from Facebook and politics!!

Friday was the first day of summer! If you are like us, we have had to wait quite a while for the warm weather. I don’t think I can ever remember wearing a jacket at the end of June.  There is something just not right with that picture…Anyway, I am so glad that the days are warmer and we can actually begin doing some of those wonderful summer activities. Hope you are enjoying this time of the year…

This past week, I had a friend post on Facebook, “I will no longer ever post any thing political…” Apparently, she had posted something very innocent on her page, and someone disagreed with her statement, and took her to task for it. Numerous supporters shared stories of how they had been “unfriended” by “friends” during the elections, because (very obviously) they were not voting for the “right” person. Still others told stories of being “viciously attacked” through words, simply because there was a difference of opinion. It is amazing to me that the ones who are so quick to pounce on someone for their views, will be the first to decry that their own rights are being violated if someone happens to disagree with them. Wow! The way I see it is that if you have the right (and feel compelled to do so) to voice your opinions in whatever way you want (interpret rant and rave) via Facebook, and I am forced to see it, look at it, think about it, be bothered by it, etc., etc., etc., then you should certainly give me the respect to hear my views and opinions. It should go both ways. 

I am so thankful that not everyone sees things the way I do. How boring life would be, and how limited my growth as a person would be. I love it when individuals in my conference sessions will raise their hand, and say, “I’m sorry, Ms. Selman, but I disagree with what you just said.” I always smile and say,”Wonderful! Tell me why you disagree!” For some, they cannot tell me WHY they disagree, just that they disagree. I toss those comments in the “do not be concerned about” file. However, for those who can share with me their opinions, thoughts, and views in an articulate, heartfelt, passionate manner, I LISTEN!! And beyond that, I learn from it. Some times those remarks actually give me new insight and I will change my opinion or perspective. Speaking of perspective, I discovered something interesting in the bathroom the other day. (No, don’t be alarmed, we are not discussing any body parts here…) It just so happens that I have a free-standing toilet tissue holder in my bathroom. I am one of those people who turns my toilet tissue so that it rolls “over” the top. As I was looking at it, I realized that someone had turned the toilet tissue to roll “under” – not the way I like it. As I was pondering that, I saw that no one had actually turned the toilet tissue ANY way. The stand had simply gotten turned around. So, if someone were looking at the stand from the left, the toilet tissue would be going over the top. If someone were looking at the stand from the right, the toilet tissue would be going under the bottom. I thought to myself, if you asked someone to tell you which way the toilet tissue was turned, you would get two different answers (depending on where the respondents were standing), and both answers would be absolutely correct!!

I have friends from almost every realm of the human species. Some are so conservative, with narrow thinking, and view the world one way, and one way only. Then we go across the spectrum, all the way to the other side, and I have friends that are so liberal, free-spirited, and free-thinking that it can almost take your breath away. And you know what? I would not trade any of them for any amount of money in the world. I love all of them, especially for their uniqueness and individuality. Each person that I come in contact with, who becomes a part of my world, I learn from. They either reaffirm what I know to be true and right within my own beliefs, or they open my mind to consider other perspectives, and it broadens my knowledge and my “personhood.” But I would only discover that if I am open-minded, willing to listen and share.

So, to my friend, I would say this: Do not give the control of what you say, write, or think to someone else, simply because they disagree with you. After all, we DO live in America, where you are supposed to be able to say exactly what you think…In fact, it is actually written into the Bill of Rights, and guaranteed by our Constitution! I, as well as countless others, are extremely interested in what you have to say, think, and do. And even if we disagree on some issues, I will show you the respect of listening, as this is a way that I can also grow and learn as a person. We should listen with an open mind to others’ thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and YES, even politics. It is called dialogue; it is called respect; it is called friendship. Those friends who “unfriend” you because you do not share their views, are probably not the people you want as friends to begin with, and how sophomoric is that? I intend to be the kind of friend that people are comfortable and safe with sharing their innermost thoughts and beliefs. Won’t you join me? Just for this week…