Loving Beyond Borders
I stared across the yard in front of me and over the gate at the skinny pale-faced girl. She had a wide smile and dark brown overgrown bangs. I moved little closer and examined her outfit. She wore a dirty soccer uniform, and muddy cleats. Finally, I found the courage to speak to her. I smiled and said, “Hi! My name is Janine! What’s your name?”
The girl smiled back and said, “My name is Natalie.” The rest as they say is history
For the rest of the day, we just ran around the block and asked each other pointless questions. “What is your favorite color? Do you have a dog? If you could have any superpower what would it be?”
We became best friends that day, and from that point on, everyday at three o’clock we would meet with the gate and the yard between us. Then giggling all the way down our driveways we would meet at the front of the street and hug.
My love for my best friend Natalie caused me to forget about her race. I was only seven at the time, but my lack of negative experiences caused me to have insight deeper than I could have imagined.
Now I looked at myself in the mirror and contemplated the thoughts that tried to consume me. While I was at school, I convinced myself that race would always keep me and my white friends far apart. I told myself that our differences were too great. Some of the people on campus had treated me poorly and I thought it was just a matter of time for them to do the same.
I looked out my window at the tree I used to climb with Natalie. Our relationship was pure and true. She loved me, and I loved her. I wondered how my seven year-old self would see me. She would tell me that I promised to be Natalie’s friend forever and that to this day whenever we see each other, we run and hug.
It may sound strange to you, but in my everyday commitment in choosing to love purely, I try to make that seven year-old Janine proud. When I was younger, there was nothing that kept me from my friend. Not even the fence that separated the yards. When I would play with Natalie we had to bridge the gap between us, and we made a conscious decision everyday to find common ground to meet on. When I thought back on my relationship with Natalie, I realized that racial differences can be overcome by pure love. Love with no borders.
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