I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I was writing a book. My book is sort of a humorous look at life growing up in the South but with some serious undertones as my main character tries to work out some realities like sadness, trauma, and death. I wrote a character into the book that I hadn’t intended to be there–because something that I learned recently touched my soul on a deep and heart-wrenching level and I believe that there was more than one story that needed to be told.
I’m going to insert a small section of my book here, like I did before, because I think the book says it like it needs to be said. You have to read it in a Southern country way, or it won’t be right, and I think it’s best to do it out loud so that when the hard stuff hits, you won’t feel like you are alone. Y’all bear with me as my brain will take me places that you probably never intended to go–but see if you can imagine what it must have been like to be this little boy.
–“My friend Tommy came to school with striped legs again. I could tell they had been bleeding, and this ain’t the first time either. I don’t know why he always wears blue shorts with stars on them though, because he kind of looks like we should be sayin’ the Pledge of Allegiance to him instead of to the flag, with as many stripes as he’s got!
Anyway, I was gettin’ pretty tired of seeing those legs looking like that, so I asked Tommy, ‘What are you doin’ to get in so much trouble all the time?’ Tommy told me, ‘My Daddy gets mad at me because I don’t know my colors.” Well, we sure are old enough to know our colors by now, so I said, ‘Well, good grief, Tommy, I can teach you your colors!’, and so every day for a week we stayed an extra ten minutes on the front steps of the schoolhouse, and I tried everything I knew to teach him how to tell the difference between green and red! That’s how long it took me to figure out that Tommy will never know the difference between those two colors and even a few more, because they all look the same to him. I wish his Daddy could just see through Tommy’s eyes one time and in more ways than just that one, because I can tell how scared he is to go home every day, and I also wish I could think of some way to get Tommy out of there for good, before he gets big and scarred up and mean to everybody else, because he ain’t ever gonna know his colors.
Tommy don’t deserve to be hurt for the way God made him. I don’t know if I could stand to live in a world without colors, and especially if I got beat on by my Daddy every day. My own Daddy never has laid a hand on me in anything but love, but my big brother sure does get his butt whipped a lot. He ain’t never been left striped though, and I doubt he ever will be, and it ain’t got nothin’ to do with whether or not he sees red and green.”–
So that’s the part that I wrote into my book, and I did it because my heart just cracked when I found out that someone I love was punished as a child for being color blind. First of all, I can’t imagine not being able to see the wonderful world as it is–in its radiant glory, designed by God Himself, the Master of all Artists, but secondly to punish a child for what he can’t help and doesn’t even understand…but it gets worse. The Tommy of my story didn’t realize that he was color blind until he was around 20 years old. All those years of being called stupid and mistreated for it, and he had no reason to believe that it wasn’t true.
Let’s try to see the world through the eyes of others–even if you don’t agree with them all the time. Sometimes there are tragic reasons for their scars, and when you know that, forgiveness, grace, and understanding are easier to find.