It was a hot summer day in the early 90’s. My mom pulled into the McDonald’s parking lot in Birmingham, Alabama. My brother and I excitedly unbuckled our seat belts, and my little sister squirmed in her car seat, while my dad woke up from the passenger side. It was day three of our three day drive from Wyoming to South Alabama to visit my dad’s side of the family.
He asked, “Where are we?”
My mom replied, “Birmingham. I stopped so we could get lunch.”
The five of us walked into McDonald’s. I looked around, and was in awe. I blurted out, “Daaad! LOOK! There are black people in here!!!”
My dad’s hand quickly went over my mouth, and my mom had a horrified look on her face. I think the whole restaurant looked at us, but I was too busy admiring their dark skin to pay attention to the “looks” I was getting. I had never seen anything like it, and I thought it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen.
My parents hurriedly ordered lunch and got us out of McDonald’s as soon as quickly as they could.
When we got back into the vehicle, my dad sat down and told me, “Megan, I know the people you just saw look different than we do. They have darker skin, but you know what? We are all the same inside.”
At the young age of five, I’m sure I had a puzzled look on my face. He pointed to the scrape on my knee, and asked, “When you fell off your bike last week, what color did you bleed?”
“Red,” I replied.
“That’s right,” my dad said. “If someone else with a different color of skin falls of their bike, their blood is red too.”
“Ohhh,” I said.
My dad continued, “Even though we have different color skin, we all still bleed the same color. God made us different on the outside, but the same on the inside. God looks at us on the inside, not the outside, so we don’t need to look at people and think differently of them based on what they look like.”
“. . For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
At five years old, my dad delicately explained the difference of race to me in that there is only an outward difference and it doesn’t define us. Not only did he explain the difference, he actually showed by example. Both him and my mom were in the Navy and experienced their own issues with race living in different countries. Neither one of them let that define them. Instead, they chose to listen to God’s truth and teach us to do the same.
A few years after the McDonald’s incident, the Lord led my parents to move us from Wyoming to Alabama. My parents have good friends who have darker skin, and we were around them quite often. It never mattered to my parents. They only saw the good in people, and I’m thankful for that.
You see, my grandfather raised my dad and his brothers and sisters that race didn’t matter during the 60’s in the south. I’m sure my grandfather caught a lot of slack for it, but he knew what really mattered and it’s not the color of a person’s skin. I’m extremely thankful my grandfather stood up for what was right, and taught my dad the same. I’m glad my dad taught us as well.
Color doesn’t matter; what’s on the inside is what matters most. I have friends of all shapes, sizes, and colors and I’m thankful for each one of them and their unwavering friendship. If I had let the color of their skin, hair, or eyes stop me from being their friend, I would have missed out on getting to know some amazing, godly women. I’m thankful my parents taught me that color doesn’t matter.