605) ‘I’m Just Fine!’

Ruby Bridges  


     Robert Coles, the distinguished child psychiatrist, went to New Orleans in the 1950s to help black children living with the trauma of trying to integrate their schools.  Ruby Bridges was the first black child to help desegregate her public school in New Orleans.  Every day Ruby would walk to school guarded by Federal Marshals who escorted her through an angry mob of protesters, some of whom were yelling terrible things at little Ruby.  Dr. Coles was quite concerned about Ruby and what effect all this hatred would have on the rest of her life.  He knew, as a psychiatrist, that she was probably having trouble eating, sleeping, and carrying on her normal routine.  Every day he interviewed her and would ask, “Ruby, how are you sleeping?”  She would reply, “I’m sleeping just fine.”  Coles would pursue the question, “Then I bet you aren’t eating too well, are you?”  And Ruby would answer, “I’m eating just fine.”  Every day he would ask the questions and she responded in the same say:  “I’m just fine.”

     Finally, one day he heard Ruby’s teacher say that she had noticed that Ruby seemed to be talking to herself when she walked through the angry mob every morning.  Dr. Coles asked her what she was saying as she walked through that line of angry people.  She told him she said, “Please be with me God, and be with these people too.  Forgive them, because they don’t know what they are doing.”

     What strength Ruby received from prayer and forgiveness!  God was with her, and she was ‘just fine.’


The Problem We All Live With, by Norman Rockwell, depicting Ruby Bridges going to school


Ruby Bridges Hall (1954- ) tells her story at:



Luke 23:34a  —  Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Colossians 3:12-13  —  Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

2 Corinthians 13:11  —   Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice!  Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace.  And the God of love and peace will be with you.


Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

–Lord’s Prayer