I went to the eye doctors yesterday for an annual exam.  My mother has glaucoma and they now monitor me to make sure that I am not developing it.  I was told a year ago that I had "pre" glaucoma.  What was that I asked.  "It is the perfect scenario necessary to develop glaucoma" I was told.  Does that mean that I will get glaucoma?  The odds are that I will....but I don't go by the odds.  If there was a roll of the dice and we are counting on snake eyes for me to not get glaucoma, I have faith that I will get ones over and over and over again.  Just because we have the perfect scenario doesn't mean that that should determine our outcome.  I am so tired of hearing that the odds are against us.  Who is determining what will happen to you?

I was thinking about my friend Wendy.  I reflected back to the age of 5 and kindergarten.  I had met my very first best-ist of best-ist friends in the whole wide world and her name was Wendy.  I lived in the projects.  We were poor.  My father's company was always going on strikes fighting for new wages for its workers.  We didn't have much.....but that year...I had Wendy.  What more could this five year old ask for?  Wendy didn't live in the projects.  She was about 3 houses away....but in my 5 year old mind, she was very far away from my life....and I loved going to visit her and her family.  People would raise their eyebrows at us.  We were an awkward pair back in the 50's at best.  Wendy's father was really nice to me.....but I would hear him ask Wendy's mother why Wendy had to play with me?!  Why can't she find someone that she has more in common with?  My mother embraced Wendy from the get- go.  I told my mother what I overheard Wendy's father say and my mother said that some people don't understand that different people from different ways of life can still get along.  She told me to stay Wendy's friend as long as we both enjoyed each other's company.

Now, you are probably thinking that I was talking about the caste system of the fifties....the haves and the have-nots.  That was only the tip of the ice burg.  You see, Wendy was Negro and I was Caucasian.  Those were the preferred terms back then.  But Wendy and I didn't even notice until one day when outside of her house, we were playing our imaginary games and one of my neighbors from the projects yelled at me calling me a n*gger lover.  I had no idea what he was talking about, but from the tone of his voice and through his body language, I knew that he had just called me a bad name.  I had no idea that he was also insulting my sister-friend.  I was five years old innocent.  I began to cry and say, "I am NOT a n*gger lover!"  At that, Wendy's father heard what was going on and kicked the man off of his property and told me that if I didn't want to defend his daughter among my own, that I could just go home.  I was shocked because I didn't understand why Wendy's father was so angry with me.  I remember her mother coming out and hollering at her husband saying, "She is only five years old like your daughter!"  I went home with my head hanging, in tears.

My mother met me at the door and immediately wanted to know what happened. I recounted the story to her and I saw a look in my mother's eyes that I had never seen before. Nowadays, I would say that it was the look of disgust, of contempt.  I saw a type of anger that I had never seen from her before.  I remember her saying "Hitler" under her breath.  I remember wanting to ask her what "hitler" meant, but was afraid to approach her in that moment.  She asked me calmly (attempting to mask her contempt) who called me a n*gger lover.  I told her which neighbor it was.  She took me by the hand and said that we were going to go for a walk.  I didn't want to go because I knew that she was upset and in my childish wisdom, knew that no good could come from this. 

We walked to that neighbor's door.  My mother knocked and he answered.  Her shoulders were squared with determination. The man looked at her with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.  He was wearing a dirty T-shirt as he glanced down at me through the screen door.  "Oh, little, Miss, Goody-Two-Shoes went home crying to her mommy...."  My mother interrupted him.  I don't know how else to describe my mother's composure except to reference you to Claire Huxtable from the Bill Cosby show.  When this woman's determination was squared away, you didn't want to be in her path.  She would use her body language and eye contact, and smile to make her statements and never had to raise her voice, or cuss.  She just told the truth with such conviction that the person in front of her would cower away.  Well, that is what happened that afternoon in front of this man's screen door.  My mother gave him a "what for".  He didn't have a chance to get a word in edge-wise as my mother compared him to the Nazis in Germany who were now living here in the United States in the form of this character.  By this point in time, I got a lesson that "hitler" was not only a word, but a man....a bad man....and that my mother was comparing our neighbor to him. 

Just when I thought that we were done, and started home, she grabbed me by the hand again to continue our walk. She marched to Wendy's house and I remember getting a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I felt my fist pang of embarrassment for my mother.  What was Mommy going to do now?  Not tell Wendy off?!  Not embarrass me in front of my best-ist friend?!  She squared her shoulders again as Wendy's mother answered the door.  I remember my mother politely explaining who she was and asking to speak to Wendy's father.  I remember him coming up behind his wife and expecting a war to break out.  I remember Wendy peeking out from behind the door as her mother scooted her back into the house.  I remember looking at Wendy with a look of apology for my mother's presence here before she was shooed away.  My mother looked at Wendy's father and asked him what a n*gger was.  He looked at her with the same look that my mother had had when I told her the stoyr....contempt.  He said that he knew that she already knew and why would she ask that!  She said, "Well if you can't define it, I will have my daughter define it."  She looked at me and told me to tell Wendy's father what a n*gger was.  I put my head down...she put her fingers under my chin to raise my face and told me to honestly answer her question.  I remember saying something about not knowing and feeling embarrassed not being able to answer her question.  Then, my mother looked at Wendy's parents explaining to them that until that day, I had never heard that word because it was never uttered in our presence at home, in our car, or anywhere at all....and that when that ignorant man called me a n*gger lover....it was just a word to me...a bad word...but just a word that held no meaning in my vocabulary.  She explained that I didn't even know that I was supposed to defend my best friend because I didn't even know that she was assaulted.  In my 5 year old mind...I was the only one accosted because the reference was made to me. 

The tide began to turn when Wendy's mother elbowed her husband saying to my mother politely that she had just had this same conversation with her husband.  I watched as Wendy's mother opened the screen door to allow my mother onto the porch and when she called Wendy to come out.  She told Wendy that she and I were making history in their neighborhood.  She looked at her husband and told him that even if she and her husband may have been cursed in their life time.....that her child would not live that curse starting that same day.  She told Wendy and me to go out in the yard to play and that she would bring us Popsicles.  We went out to play and held hands on the way.  We laughed and felt relief that our friendship was not in jeopardy.  Our mothers talked in a friendly way while her father gave in to what was going on around him.

Yes, I was thinking about Wendy this morning.  I pray that God is shining down His Glory on her.  I don't know what happened to Wendy.  My family was finally able to move out of the projects.  We ended up moving to a different town where they rented a house.  My life was always a poor one financially...but never spiritually or intellectually.  I hope that Wendy overcame all odds.  Her father had her living in slavery to white supremacy while her mother had a different vision....one of hope and happiness.  My mother had the same dream for me.  Through poverty, I was able to find people....or should I say that God brought people into my life to raise me above the poverty.  They planted seeds in me that though the odds were against me coming out of poverty.....I did just that.  Instead of looking at the roll of the dice, Wendy and I looked up to the heavens and to our Father God.  He goes against all odds.  I hope that one day, we will be reunited in heaven because our friendship was a pure, innocent one.  It was Jesus who said to come to HIM as children.  I now realize that, in part, He was talking about Wendy and me.

So, as you read this, you are thinking that whatever your ordeal is..that it is  something that you can't overcome....you are right....if you look at the odds against you....if you keep looking at the random toss of the dice.  But, if for one moment, you can change your thoughts to look at Him instead of the dice, you will realize that we all have a purpose here on earth.  We weren't tossed together randomly like a pair of dice.  We were gently placed where we are by the Hands of the Father.  Now, seek Him for guidance as to what He would have you do.  Start an intimate relationship with God the Father today.  You will see right through the lies that people tell you about yourself.  Allow your Father to defend you the same way that Wendy's mother and my mother defended us.  May God be with you!