It started with a wave.
I live really close to an elementary school. From the first day we moved there, I began to wave at the crossing guard. He returned. It seemed like it would just be a friendly daily routine. That was ok. I love waving at people, speaking to people. So did he.
But something began to change. It was like he would make sure he was in position to see me. Like he was watching for me to pass by. From where he stood each day, he could see my car or bike as I pulled out of the driveway. We both began to look forward to the wave.
I was born in South MS. Needless to say, there were issues in my family about race. It didn’t start out like that, but somewhere along the line, I learned to judge people by their skin color. I’m not proud of those days. We tend to justify the way we think and the actions we take. So it was with my racist ways. Sometimes though, justification can melt away in the face of grace.
The heart of a person is filled with many things. Understanding why we do what we do can be an exercise in futility. Somehow it had reached my mind that Jesus was a blue eyed white guy. When the Spirit began a work in my heart concerning my perspective on people, it was like a veil was lifted. I began to see people as God intended me to see. A wide variety of color and beauty created in his image.
One day, I parked the car and ran across the street to finally introduce myself to this guy I had been waving at for 2 months. He was as surprised as I was, but his eyes were bright and his smile as wide as mine.
Henry is his name. Born in New Orleans, he and his wife of 40 years were displaced by Katrina. After a few years in NC, they settled here after retirement. He and his wife know Christ, and have 3 kids and several grand kids. The story is just beginning actually, because friendships build over time. The plan is to share a meal with him and his wife, and see where God leads us.
It started with a wave, and has progressed to weekly updates standing on the sidewalk before school. While we still wave, some days are me yelling out the window “Hey Henry! How you doin today? Fine Jeff”, he says “Hope you have a good day!”
Henry is a black man. I’m a white man. Both raised in the south where race relations have come a long way, but still have a long way to go. But as we both follow Christ, we both realize we do what we can do…One wave at a time.