My second-born daughter has always had the roundest, most beautiful bright blue eyes. She was a darling baby with dark curly hair and a drooly little smile. We couldn't go anywhere without someone stopping me to talk to her. She was and is simply beautiful. Inside and out.
Something I noticed early on tho, was that her eyes were very sensitive to light. When she was little (too small to find words to describe what was happening), we'd take a picture and if the sun was shining in her eyes, she either had them closed, had them covered, or was looking away from the camera. One time I demanded she look at the picture taker and her eyes instantly began watering.... tears streaming down her face.
She couldn't help it and couldn't stop it. Even tho the sun didn't seem to bother the rest of us, it bothered her. There was no denying it.
We learned to take pictures in shaded areas when she was around. We listened to her when she said, "The sun hurts my eyes", and we cared enough to make the small change required in order for her to feel okay.
I've thought a lot about that lately, especially as it relates to people who have problems I don’t experience myself.
Racism for example.
I notice sometimes that a person of color will say, "Hey. This thing happened to me and it's because I'm (fill in the blank here with probably any race aside from white). It was hurtful and frustrating and I wish things were different."
And instead of rallying around said person, some of the responses infer that it DIDN'T EVEN HAPPEN.
"Are you sure? Maybe it was because of (some other reason)."
"I don't think it's even that bad anymore."
"You have a chip on your shoulder. Get over it."
The deal is....
If someone tells me they've experienced something because of the color of their skin or their sexual orientation or any other thing that people tend to pick on, who am I to suggest it didn't really happen or that it's not that bad?
What if I said to my beautiful darling girl, "Briar, the sun doesn't hurt our eyes! Just get over it!" Or, "You're making it up! It's not that bad!"
That would be ridiculous. Cold-hearted and completely un-sympathetic.
I don't need to understand experientially the things that hurt other people in order to believe that it exists. It's my job to trust you when you tell me you've experienced it. Or that being called a certain name hurts you. Or that wearing certain items of clothing exclusive to your race or heritage makes you feel uncomfortable.
Maybe the sun doesn't hurt my eyes, but that's really not the point, is it?
If it hurts yours, we should move to the shade.
Simple as that.
I just wish we could learn to hear each other more. Trust each other's pain and vulnerability about how it feels to be treated as anything less than a child of God.... equal in every way down to our bone marrow.
More compassion. More give a care.
Let's spread that like wildfire.