The World I Want To Live In

The World I Want To Live In

Author: Rand Barnard
August 12, 2020

I was raised in a middle class all Caucasian neighborhood

My father grew up in St Louis, Missouri and my mom grew up in Hope, North Dakota.

My father’s racial views reflected more of a southern upraising. My mom’s and the rest of our family was a naïve belief that we had very few prejudices. I was turned off by racist comments my dad would make that I felt were over the top when it came to racial slurs. My mom preferred much kinder, gentler racial comments. In most cases my mom was kind, so I followed her example of trying to be a kind person myself.

I went to an elementary school that was like all the rest in the district that had very few minority students or staff. What set my school apart from the rest was we had a Black teacher, while office workers and custodians were white. Towards the end of grade school a few Asian families had moved into the neighborhood.

At this point of my life, I didn't think much about other races --kids were kids to me. If asked I would say my school had some Japanese students. All Asians were Japanese to me, I thought, but they weren't.

My first day of junior high school, all the 7th grade boys were gathered on the bleachers in the gym. Even though we were asked to sit quietly, there were some boys rough- housing down in front. I yelled out " Knock it off you niggers."

Immediately my friend elbowed me and pointed -- there was a Black student a few rows down. Obviously my outburst was very embarrassing and left an impression on me that I haven't forgotten.

The Black person in front of me turned out to be Steve Poole, our KOMO 4 weather man. He was the only Black person in our school up to the high school years. I often wondered, why doesn't Steve play on the sports teams? The big city teams had Black players, and God knows we needed some good players. Why was Steve more interested in debate and drama?

After high school I got busy with my trade and family. I started worshiping and became active at Grace. And Jesus’ words started working on me.

I have been so conflicted in what's been part of me since my youth, and what Jesus has been whispering in my ear for the last 45 years.

For example, many years ago a Black family moved into the house directly across the street from us. What popped into my head? I had been told " There goes the neighborhood."

I didn't talk much to my neighbor, in fact really didn't see much of him around for many years. The reason I didn't see him was because he was a Seattle firefighter and he wasn't around or worked different hours than I did.
Then, I started running into Don at the mailbox and before you know it short greetings turned into long conversations; hellos always came with a hug! That's just the way Don is.

Barb and I started having get-togethers with Don and Kat (Katharine). One of the highlights of our friendship was sharing election night 2008 with them.

We were at our house -- they brought the wine. They calmly sat and sipped their wine with a satisfied glow and smiles, as we realized our new president was Barack Obama.

This memory we share will never be forgotten.  

You see, with Don and Kat during the highs and lows and injustices they don't overreact. I do!!!

They know not to trust the good times, because good times may not last. And when there is racial injustice they keep their emotions in check. (At least publicly).

I wear my emotions on my sleeve. 

Barb and I invited Don and Kat to worship at Grace a few times over the years because we knew they were looking to change churches. They came away with huge praises for the preaching, said the spirit was in the pastors! Also were very impressed with the youth program, and wanted to hear how the Mexico mission turned out. Overall they seemed very impressed. They said they would love to come again.

But they never came back. They chose a church that looked more like them.

Which brings me to think about what's been bothering me for quite some time now.

Why does Grace reflect my past and not the world I live in? The world has changed in huge ways around me!

I feared my neighbor and found a loving friend. Jesus said he loves me. He told me he loves everyone.

And that's the world I want to live and worship in!

Follow Us