Our country is facing a terrible time. At least, that’s what they tell me. This obviously worries me so I’ve been noticing things over the last few days.

I noticed a black man in the local hardware store. He was waiting in the same line that I was. We didn’t talk about the anger in our nation or the fact that he feels oppressed or the fact that I feel wrongly accused of hating him. We talked instead about the recent thunderstorms and downed trees and the need to cut our grass. We talked about having to help our neighbors recover from downed trees and we worried about people without power in the heat.

I noticed a black woman walking across a parking lot to go into a restaurant and saw a white man rush to get to the door ahead of her… and then hold it open for her go in first. They exchanged what I assumed to be pleasant greetings and went about their day.

I’ve noticed black folk joining “white” churches and white folk joining “black” churches and have watched them pray together and pray for one another.

I’ve seen stories out of Dallas of cops risking their lives to protect those that were, according to the media, there to protest them. In short, everyone was angry and yelling at the police who stood stoically by watching. When the firing started a protester was hit by a bullet and multiple policemen covered her with their own bodies while continuing to take fire. In her story, they drove her to the hospital in a bullet riddled police car that arrived at the hospital on just the rims.

I’ve seen blacks and whites shopping together, helping one another, smiling and loving one another. You know, just being good neighbors. I suppose that you can blame this all on the small town where I live but I see it in other places too… in larger cities all around the nation. People walk around their neighborhoods and smile at each other and then go home to Facebook and post the latest news stories about who hates whom the most. It’s all a bit tiring honestly.

I’ve seen videos of shootings in which the critical seconds are always missing. Every time the camera turns away, there are shots recorded, and then the camera returns to a picture of a dead man. Those few seconds don’t matter to most folks. The absence of the critical footage only serves to justify one point or the other. It’s frustrating.

I’ve noticed the girl at the cash register in the local grocery who had a very pleasant conversation with me and then noticed, later, that I couldn’t remember her race because I’d forgotten to notice. I decided that, for the moment, I like this way best. Maybe I’ll continue love my neighbors, whoever they are and help them when I can. Maybe I’ll continue to forget to notice. Maybe we all should…. at least, you know… for a while.

I forgot to notice.

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