‘Each Other’s Skin’

Terry Walton


I Was Thinking…

When I was in the ninth grade at Spalding County Junior High School, our school district integrated people of color with those of us who were white.  The Griffin High Eagles who were green and white joined with the Fairmount Bears who were blue and gold.  Together the one high school in our county became the green and gold Griffin High Bears. 

It was a painful time for our community.  There were fights and riots and even, unfortunately, a murder of a black student by the father of a white student.  I saw my white friends and my black friends at each other’s throats.  We could play sports together but we couldn’t seem to do anything else together.  It saddened me and burdened me.

With events like Charlottesville and the recent rhetoric between people of color and whites; the comments of our President and the reaction by national sports teams’ owners, managers and players, it makes me wonder just how far we’ve come since my 9th grade year.   It feels as if we’ve not even turned a corner.  Honestly, my heart hurts over all of this division between the races.  And I think it breaks God’s heart as well.  This distrust and anger isn’t healthy and is headed in a less than positive direction.

Whatever happened to ‘treat others like we would like to be treated’?  It seems that we are ready to raise the volume of the ‘Golden Rule’ but only when it works to our particular bias or benefit.  Maybe it would help if each of us really tried to get ‘into’ each ‘other’s skin’ (pardon the pun) rather than worked so hard at getting ‘under’ each ‘other’s skin’.  We seem to be really gifted at holding grudges and at rationalizing our own point of view.  What if we paused long enough to seek an understanding of the perspective of the other?

For me, I must seek to understand the perspective of people of color.  I must honestly ask myself how much of their pain have I caused?  How much of the problem could be solved if I would seek to know their fears, their hopes and their dreams? 

I am reminded of the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi this week.  Would you pray it with me during these days of deep divide and deep pain?

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;  

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.  

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.  

Always Thinking…


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