A few months back I attended a memorial service in the mid-cities for a well-known and respected middle-aged man whose life had been cut short by an accident.
It was like no other service I’d ever attended.
There must have been between 500-600 folks there, from all walks of life. Blacks, whites, browns, young and old, well-to-do and not-so-well-to do and everyone in between — all there to honor a man who touched their lives.
I did not know Travis personally, but after hearing the stories of his life, I would have been the better for it. I’m the one who missed out. Love and harmony abounded in that sanctuary for more than an hour.
When I saw the genuine love of a black man being expressed through words, song and tears for Travis, I could not help but cry with him. Here was a black man mourning his white friend... his brother in the Lord.
In the midst of his touching tribute, he stopped singing as heartfelt grief overtook him.
Then something happened, something divinely inspired.
Travis’ wife got up from her seat in the front row, came up on stage and hugged this man - really hugged him for maybe 30 seconds.
What a poignant moment.
Then with her arm extended and hand still on his shoulder, she stepped to his side as the singer finished his glorious song.
This was true love, for Travis and one another, on display. Agape love had permeated our gathering place.
I wished those who grew up with certain prejudices toward those of a different ethnicity could experience this.
If only they knew that with God’s help that bitterness can give way to betterment. Peace and harmony can replace hostility and anger.
Man-made barriers of prejudice and hatred can be transformed into bridges of forgiveness, compassion and understanding.
Nowadays, we hear on the TV or radio the phrase “Black lives matter.” I wholeheartedly agree that black lives DO matter.
I also believe white, blue and unborn babies lives matter as well.
All life matters. And as such, we are all a part of the same race, the human race. Throughout this ceremony honoring Travis’ life, I couldn’t help but think that Travis would be humbled knowing that his time on earth had touched so many people.
As my mother used to sing and taught me as a young boy growing up: “Red, Yellow, Black and White/They Are Precious in His Sight/Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World.“ Though Travis was not in person with us that day, it was if his spirit was.
Charlie Norman has lived in Somervell County since 1994. He and his wife have two adult children, who graduated from Glen Rose schools. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.