Judging by appearance

The other day a friend and I sat down  to catch up on each others lives this past year.  As I told her about my recent projects and interests, she said, “Wow, I would have never expected all these words coming from your mouth!  Internet gaming, starting a new book, board game, speaking at a conference, fund-raising for a ministry…look at you!”  I brushed her words off with a laugh, but returned to them several times since.

What do I look like?  An old lady that finds her way to Wal-Mart in the cool of the day?  I once laughed at my sisters who were prim and proper in their polyester clothing, calling them the “Polyester Brigade.”  No, I have you know I wear cotton whenever possible (because it’s too hot in Texas in summer to wear polyester).  And I comb my hair every day.  I probably don’t look like the professional type, but I try to look as stylish as I can in comfortable shoes.  Ah, the shoes, now that is another blog.

Those first time assessments we all make when we meet someone new can be important.  Possible friend or foe?  What can they do for me?  Do they look lonely and need a person saying hello?  What is their education level?  Are they part of the “in” crowd?  The way we assess them tells a lot about our own attitude toward others.

Some people find it so important to make that good impression, they go to great lengths and expense to create the right look and ambiance around them.  I remember some teenage friends asking dates to drop them off on a wealthier street and walking home.  Ah, the webs we weave…

But there is another impression we make.  It’s center is our attitude and character, our inner roots.  Some people simply ooze love, acceptance and self-worth.  They actually see you as a person, not a project, and their love and warmth envelops you.  You’re held by them like a note under a refrigerator magnet.  Others you want to walk around and figure out if you want to hug them or throw a net over them.  I can usually discern the type of person, but I can be fooled.  Both men and women can put up a good front and say all the right words.  They are good at figuring out what YOU want, and they give it to you.

So what are the lessons I have learned?  I try to take people at face value, but I reserve my trust for awhile.  People’s actions speak loudly, their emotions show compassion, mercy and forgiveness, their roots reveal their boss, the creator or the spoiler.  Then, if still in doubt, I check my intuition, my gut.  Or is that the Holy Spirit?