Biking home today, I got caught at a stoplight. A man pulled up next to me on a cruiser bicycle with high handle bars; his call to the girl behind him drew my attention.
I might flatter myself when I say that I didn’t stare; I certainly wasn’t trying to be rude, but my glance likely lingered too long on his heavily tattooed arms, his dark clothing, his bald head. I was trying to figure out what the “Melvins” emblem on his black t-shirt meant, to decide whether it was a band or a club or something else entirely.
He smiled at me then, sincerely, right into my eyes, and commented, “I like your beads,” in reference to the long and colorful strand hanging around my neck.
Looking back at him, I grinned, “Thanks!” emphatically, as if I could could apologize for my own inconsiderateness in that one simple word.
The crosswalk gave us permission to move then. And I mounted my bike and set off while he waited for his friend to catch up to him.
“Have a nice day,” he called after me.
“You guys too,” I responded, with an honest verve.
Reflecting, it makes me chide myself for my quick judgment. I knew so little about him. Only that he was a good friend; just that he liked my beads; and importantly that the same Jesus died for both of our sins.
In that, we are the same.