The Color of Love
by Dianne Neal Matthews
At ninety-one years old, my mom’s family includes four children, nine grandchildren, and nineteen great-grandchildren. I guess it’s no surprise that she has a sizeable collection of crayon drawings, notes, and simple handmade gifts. I recently pulled an unfamiliar scrap of paper out of her cardboard box. Although I’d never seen it before, Mom had a clear memory of its origin…
Mom lives in a rural community that includes several churches ranging in size from tiny to small. Years ago, a couple of church leaders decided to try a new approach to the traditional southern weeklong summer revival. It would be a community-wide event, with each church taking a turn to serve as host.
That’s how my mom ended up one evening sitting in a church where the people had a different skin color and behaved somewhat differently during the service. As Mom listened to the sermon, two little girls squirmed around and whispered on the pew behind her. The woman beside them seemed oblivious to their restlessness, wrapped up in her pastor’s message, frequently shouting out amens or other phrases of encouragement.
After a while, Mom handed the girls some of her note paper and a pen. The girls settled down to draw quietly. As the service ended, they handed my mom their finished artwork. It included the words, “We love you!” with a tiny heart at the bottom of the exclamation mark.
The interdenominational summer revival was well-received in the community and continues today. It’s an annual reminder that for those who love Jesus, what we have in common is far greater than our differences. And as that little scrap of paper proves, underneath our skin we all share a heart ready to respond to a simple act of kindness.
Dianne Neal Matthews is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books including The One Year Women of the Bible and Designed for Devotion, which won a 2013 Selah Award. She also writes for websites and blogs, contributes to compilations (including Guideposts’ Mornings with Jesus), and teaches at writers’ conferences. To learn more, visit www.DianneNealMatthews.com or connect with Dianne through Facebook or Twitter.