The idea of a race-less life created an interruption in my regularly scheduled social programming. Before then, I had always tuned in. I knew all of the characters and their story lines. I read books about them, collected images and shared stories of my run-ins with prejudice and stereotypes. I suppose I was more of a fan of race than a participant. This was my familiar.
My life was a call and response from persons who had lived the conclusions, the social determinations of race. It was no well- scripted, so convincing, so dramatic that I couldn’t look away. And thought I knew what they were going to say, I kept watching and repeating my response. I was becoming well-versed as well.
My life was a story told to me. I could not disagree because it had already been written and it connected me to so much of what I thought was life. That is, until I began to read more intently the grand narrative of God, until I realized that God was not just talking about my soul but my body, my social condition. God wanted to save me now and later. I was a part of God’s story today and every day that followed. This realization began to turn my gaze.
I was walking along a familiar path and what should have been a straight road. And I had company. I knew where I was going because I was versed in the arguments of race and their solutions. It all made sense at least until another voice entered the conversation and questioned it all. God interrupted and I don’t even remember what my life had been saying before God spoke.
Afterwards, my relationship with God took an unexpected turn. Before I thought that I could serve God and race. I had seen others do it but now I could see that they were failing miserably at pleasing or benefitting from either. The road became a rug that was quickly pulled from under me. I had been tricked and it was God that had revealed this truth.
I had become a Christian before I became a teenager. I have been a believer longer than I have been a unbeliever. I thought that I had the Christian life all figured out, that I understood my faith. But, what I knew were interpretations of the faith, what I had figured out were other persons’ experiences with the faith. I had yet to have a conversation with God alone. I had yet to walk with Jesus alone.
I was beginning to say who I was and what my life would be. The racialized life already had a plan for me and then God interrupted. God took the words of race away from my identity and I thought that I would be no one, that my life would have no where to go, that it would have no meaning.
God took my world and turned it upside down. God shook out all of its content and all that I thought couldn’t move, that I could not live without, that made me who I am and would become. All of it had fallen out. And yet, my world has not fallen a part. Race did not and does not hold my world together. The sun kept rising and setting, the night continued to show up. The absence of race had not stopped anything at all but God’s interruption had changed my life completely.
Now, I only look to God and I have nothing to say.