The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. Isaiah 11:6 (NIV)
I have an autoimmune skin disorder called Vitiligo that gradually robs the skin of its pigment, giving it a milky white appearance. My hands have lost most of their pigment and are the first things others notice. I am a substitute teacher and the reactions of the children are varied and interesting. Here are a few responses I would like to share:
Emily (Age 7) Sitting on the lap of her dad, innocently asked me, “How can a person be both brown and white at the same time?” I simply replied, “I don’t know sweetheart. That’s just the way it is.” That seemed to satisfy her curiosity as she smiled and went on to play with her toy.
Jocelyn (Grade 3) “Miss Ebony, that color is going to look good on you when God gets finished painting you.”
Samantha (a cute little Caucasian girl in kindergarten) asked me what happened to my hands? I replied, “An angel kissed me.” And she said, “Yes, I know the angel kissed me all over.”
Jeffrey (Grade 2) Carefully explored my hands with his eyes and simply said, “Cool.”
Geordie (Grade 1) When I told him I was turning white. His eyes widened, he gasped and frantically asked, “Does that mean I’m going to turn Black?”
Ericka (Age 10-Kid’s Plus) Had just received an award for her Dr. Martin Luther King Speech asked, “Miss Ebony, how are you going to feel when you turn all white? Will you still be Black and celebrate Dr. King’s Birthday with us?”
A two-year old in grocery store ran over to me, touched my hand and asked, “Aw, does it hurt?”
Carson (4 year-old) was frantically waving his hand while I was teaching the class and when I called on him said, “Miss Ebony, Miss Ebony, did you know that your brown is coming off?”
Nine year-old with his mom during Literacy Class scanned me from head-to-toe and after giving more consideration to how I was dressed than to my hands, decidedly asked, “Are you the Principal?”
Ten year-old at the supermarket on a Sunday afternoon excitedly ran over to me, pulled my coat, and asked, “Are you somebody–you look like you are somebody!”
My favorite reaction was when my secretary brought her 2-year old granddaughter into the office to greet me one Sunday morning. Her grandmother asked her (as the child stood intently staring at me in my clergy robe), “What are you going to say, sweetheart?” And that sweet little innocent baby looked up at me and said, “Good morning, Jesus.”
God Bless the pure in heart–God Bless the children.