Friday, November 10, 2006

The old ghosts from our pasts....


Last night, I went to an alumni event my college sponsored. Now allow me to illuminate some of my not-so finer qualities. Hubby was asking why this is the first alumni event we'd attended. I finally had to admit that well, I didn't like most of the people I went to college with. Ouch, I know. It's okay, they didn't like me all that much either. *gags*

So there we were, and one of the first people I spotted was this girl, a rather nasty sort-you know, the perfect hair-do, pearls, preppy sweater, yada yada yada. She and I never mixed well, given that I'm a jeans and t-shirt sort of girl and could neve stomach that whole perfectly made up look.

I did not talk to her-after all, what do you say to a girl you'd disliked throughout college for no particular reason except for the fact that she was a little too perfect for you to imagine yourself being friends with her. In fact, I'm not even sure she'd remember who I was, given that most of our college years were spent passing each other in the halls with her looking down her long, aristocratic nose at me.

But it did get me to thinking-why do I dislike her so much? Other than that whole Stepford wife perfection thing that she seems to do so well?

The truth is, I don't know her at all. I did Google her, out of curiosity. I found out a couple of things-one, she's a total rocket scientist. Had no idea about THAT one. And two, she's involved in all sorts of civic organizations and whatnot. On one hand, it's exactly what I'd expect of Miss, er Mrs. Perfect-chairwoman of such and such committee, donating her time to all these worthy organizations. And I thought, well, maybe I can see a little of why I'd dislike someone like that. I mean, I'd love to do stuff like that, but really, it's all I can do to keep my head above water, let alone try to organize some big charity function.

But as I thought about it, I realized something else. Yes, her name is on all these charities and projects and stuff. But that doesn't mean she's a good person. It doesn't even mean she's a happy person. Of all the things I remember most about her, and probably the biggest reason I picked her out of the crowd, is that she constantly walks around with this look of dissatisfaction on her face. The most striking thing about this girl, and probably the very basic reason why I never liked her, is that she always looks at you like you were a bug that just got squished on her windshield.

And I had to wonder, as much as her name is bandied about on all these things that should impress the general population, has it filled whatever it is inside her that needs to be filled? Because I have to think, that if a person looks that unhappy all the time, maybe she is, in fact, unhappy. Have you ever met someone who was just happy? There's this lady in my bible study, and she is going through a whole boatload of crap right now. But she has always got a smile on her face. There's just this joy radiating from her. If you ask her, she'll tell you it's Jesus.

While I can assure you that Miss Priss I Just Ate A Bug Face is a regular attender of church, and her name, along with her husband's, appears very prominently on all the "right" lists of those serving at a particular church, I wonder, does she really know Jesus?

Now I want to be clear here, I do not know her, I do not know her relationship with God, and this is all PURE speculation. But I'm trying to look into the heart of someone I don't know. Someone I don't like. And somehow, insert myself into her shoes so that I can feel a little compassion for her.

Even though I would name her as an enemy, the real enemy is me. Because maybe, the truth is, as much as I want her perfect image to have some crack, something to make her real and relatable to me, perhaps, the real enemy is me. And how I look at her. How I've spent so long not seeing her as a human being, but as some weird freak of nature to roll my eyes at and wonder if such perfection exists.

Maybe she looks at me as "the other". The sort of freak of a person who never looks well put together, can't keep anything organized, even if it's attached to her, and can spout off on just about anything, but has never done anything constructive with her life.

The funny thing about enemies, is that the more we see them as "the other", the more labels we slap on them, the easier it is to continue to hate them. She is a wife. She is a mother. She helps our community. She attends church. Maybe we don't have everything in common, but at least I can look at her as a human being. What she has in common with every other person I dislike (at least for the most part) is that lack of relatability-the fact that I don't see her, or them, as human beings. They are "the others".

Lord, forgive me. I pray that someday, I can come to an understanding of these people, maybe not in the sense that we get together for playdates and have tea on a regular basis, but at least in the sense that I can look at them with Christ's eyes, and love them. I pray that they will come to a closer relationship with Christ, and whatever emptiness is there, if there is in fact, emptiness, that He will fill it.


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