Friday, April 15, 2016

Hello, Lovely

Several weeks ago, I walked into church and saw a friend I hadn't seen in weeks. I'll call her Gabby for privacy's sake. Though there were several groups of people between us, I made like a fish swimming upstream and slowly worked my way through the sanctuary until I could get to her. As soon as I was close enough and we made eye contact, I broke into a huge smile, threw my arms around her, and said, "Hello, gorgeous!" In my embrace she gave a light, almost bitter laugh and replied, "I certainly don't feel gorgeous." As we parted, I realized she didn't have any make up on, her hair was carelessly put up, and her clothes were not as "up to standard" as what everyone has come to expect from her, simply because she is always so put together. And yet, she was beautiful.

It's rare these days that I don't greet my female friends with some variation of the way I greeted Gabby that day. "Hey, beautiful." "Hello, lovely." I don't say these words carelessly, but honestly. We live in a world that is so focused on outer beauty that we often forget that age old adage of beauty being more than skin deep. In this wonderful age where we are beginning to accept the fact that a woman doesn't have to be a size two or even a size twelve to be beautiful, we're still not quite yet there when it comes to looking beyond the flesh. Let's face it, men are visual creatures but women are just as visual. We pass someone on the street who is better dressed, taller, has better hair, and we think, "Ugh. Her life must be so perfect. I bet she's so stuck up." Who knows what men think? I don't know that I want to be privy to that information. The point is, we don't see someone like that and think, "I bet she has a generous spirit." We still, whether we mean to or not, on some level, let our eyes determine how we view others.

Don't think for a second that I think I am any different. I know I make snap judgements of others based on what I saw, especially strangers. How fair is that? Without getting to know someone, I think I have them all figured out just by seeing them across the room. That outfit must have cost a fortune; clearly she has money. Look at that piercing; such an attention seeker. Look at how short that skirt is; no standards and no shame.

But what if people did that to me? Now, I'm not a huge fan of this term, but I'll be the first to admit that I have resting bitch face, meaning if I am not smiling or making an active effort to show some kind of emotion on my face, I look ticked. I'm not. Generally, it takes a great deal to get me irritated enough to the point where I actually am angry. I've also been told I look like a lost or abandoned child. So, you know, my go-to faces aren't the best representative of who I am, yet people who don't know me see me and assume I am one way or another. They hear I am on disability and look at me only to see nothing wrong on the surface, which leads to other judgements.

Guys, we have got to stop doing this to each other. And by guys, I mean all of us. We have to stop assuming we know someone just by what we see. You can never know a person's heart by looking at the name brand shoes they're wearing or how well kept they are. I have found in my own life that there are people I have made snap judgements about, thinking, "I will never have anything in common with this person," who have gone on to be some of my closest, dearest friends.

That is what beauty really is. When you see a person and you light up because you know you can trust them, that you can be honest and vulnerable with them...I don't know anything more beautiful than the glow of someone who has someone invested in them and loving them for exactly who they are.

Ladies, if I see you and greet you with this compliment, people know that I mean it from the bottom of my heart. I don't care about your make up, your hair, your clothes...I care about you, and I do think you're beautiful. Love makes everyone beautiful, and there is no greater example of that than the unconditional love we receive from God. If He can look at a walking, talking mess like me and think, "That's my beautiful, precious daughter," the least I can do is try to look at others through His eyes. Who knows? My next life-long friend could be among those I have harshly misjudged because I was too distracted by what was on the outside to see what was on the inside.

That being said, I'm going to style my pink hair, put on my sparkly gray zebra print sweater, and go do some errands.


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