Judging the book by its cover?

It all started a couple months ago when the music minister at my church asked for a few good men to grow beards.  Well, after a chuckle since I had not once, in all my 48 years, had so much as a mustache, I agreed to try and grow one.  What did he need a few good men for?  As it turns out, he wanted to put on a play for Maundy Thursday during Holy Week (the week leading into Easter).  The stage scene is based on the Leonardo Da Vinci painting: The Last Supper.  The masterpiece is brought to life with live actors in a work by Ruth Elaine Schram entitled, “The Living Last Supper“.  Since I owed the music minister a favor, I agreed to help out and was chosen to play Thaddeus.  Interestingly, the church I grew up in did the same play and my father was in it – I was about the same age that my son is now.

So, not having grown a beard before I was not exactly sure what to expect, but it came in quite well by all accounts and in fact grew in dark red.  It was a new experience and itchy, but not shaving was a bonus.

What I found most interesting, were the comments beyond how I looked with facial hair.  Adults at the Boy Scout meeting asked, “Are you out of a job?”  Friends that had never seen me with facial hair asked me, “Are you feeling depressed?”  I realized that no one had ever seen me without a clean shaven face and had to tell them the whole story so they would be satisfied that there was no cause for alarm or worry.  I was left to wonder how many assumed something and did not comment at all.

Not preaching here, just providing an example of how easy it is for us to judge the book by its cover.  We get used to certain things and then when those things change, sometimes instead of inquiring for the truth by going to the source and asking – we judge from a distance.  For those that would assume that their own perception was correct without learning the truth, well, those people are at a loss to have learned something about me that they did not know and were only left to the incorrect truth based on an improper assumption.  For those that took the time to ask, they learned that I was a thespian of sorts, and one who enjoyed following in my dad’s footsteps – as well as that of the disciple.

Not criticizing here either, as it is very easy to say yet not so easy to do.  Most of us from time to time have assumed (even though we know to do so makes an “a** of you and me” like our parents and teachers have said for years), but until it becomes a costly lesson we are not likely to learn it.

The bottom line that I see here is that we all have a choice.  We have the choice to see things as positively or negatively as a matter of practice in our lives.  Oscar Wilde said, “Between the optimist and the pessimist, the difference is droll. The optimist sees the doughnut; the pessimist the hole!”

Personally, I think it is easier and cheaper to be positive and go with the donut – do you know how much extra effort and cost there is to a donut hole?  Dig in, get the truth, and don’t judge by the cover – judge by the real truth.

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