What do you see when you look at me?
A happy girl, content and free?
Or hurting inside, sad as can be?
Do you see me for what I am – or do you honestly not give a damn?
Am I a person, or am I friend? Would you look out for me until the end?
If I needed help, would you reach out your heart? Or would you walk away, because you think that is smart?
Who am I? What do you see? Give me a chance to be all I can be.
Words by Ruth Clemence
Slightly unusual start to a blog post. I haven’t written any poetry in ages. However, it expresses my thoughts for this next post. I want to talk about the idea of ‘judging a book by its cover’. I know we have all heard it. I think it’s human to make assumptions about people, but it is knowing when to stop assuming and when to actually get to ‘know’ that person. Some of the most fascinating stories can be shared if only we get to know someone. We are all so unique and have different walks of life. We can all learn so much from one another given half the chance. Do you remember this lady?
Susan Boyle was ridiculed because of her appearance, her approach and pretty much everything… but the voice that came out of her shut everyone up. What a wake up call.
I felt compelled to write about this for a while but it was reaffirmed yesterday at my local library. I spent ages scanning the shelves for a novel to read over the holidays. My favourite novels are romantic just like I love to watch a good rom-com. Anyways, I read the back of several books making sure to avoid anything that implied death, illness or anything that I could relate to as I wanted a happy book; the kind that you read when you are younger and it’s all fairy tales, princesses and the knight in shining armour.
I came across ‘The Way We Were’ by Elizabeth Noble. The book said it was about childhood sweethearts who drift apart, re-meet and have the chance to re-spark a love now lost. Pleased with my choice, I started reading it and couldn’t put it down. I get to page 90 and one of the characters is diagnosed with cancer. Bummer. I wanted to avoid this. It gets better. It’s not just any cancer, it’s Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The character has to undergo ABVD. She is worried about losing her hair. Wow. All too familiar. I couldn’t help but laugh. I had thought I had picked up a winner. I am not sure how this book finishes and I will read it until the end. Isn’t it funny how I judged this book by it’s cover and it turned out to be exactly what I was avoiding.
It was a wake up call to realise that judging a book by its cover is no good. You have to uncover the story within it. The local newsletter had an excellent article by Julia W Richardson called ‘Face To Face With Oneself’. It compares painting a portrait with all of its lines, shades, form, perfections and imperfections… to ourselves with all of the small, revealing things that make us who we are. She goes on to say:
“In our present culture there is often a tendency to make snap judgements, and to have pre-conceived ideas about people, their achievements, their failings and their appearances…we need to stand back, switch on our brains before opening our mouths and take stock before we think or form opinions and make judgements.” (Julia W Richardson)
I think this is a great summary of what we tend to do and what we should do… This can be summarised in Matthew:
Matthew 7:1-5 says,
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Also, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’… Simple, but effective. Put yourself in others shoes and you could walk on one fabulous journey.
Take care and God Bless.
And – MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I will write a new blog post before the new year hopefully, so be sure to catch it!
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