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Monday, February 15, 2010

Embracing The Heart

My first “real” boyfriend was diagnosed with cancer two years into our relationship. It was a hard-fought year of surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and sadness. It was a heart-breaking year of loss, let down and bittersweet love.

I remember--months after his hair had fallen out, months after his first chemo treatment, months after he lost all his body weight, months after I first locked eyes with a 5 year old hooked up to machines just to stay alive, months after our lives were rocked for the worst -- going out to dinner for the first time.

We went to our favorite restaurant, all dressed up.

He was wearing a hat because he had lost all of his hair and as we waited for our food to arrive, a mother sitting a few tables away began to make a fuss over John’s rude hat wearing skills at our dinner table.

She hemmed and hawed and yelled across the restaurant that her sons would NEVER wear their hats in public --in a fancy restaurant at that -- while others were eating. It was a mannerless act better suited for McDonald’s than the Inn we sat in.

She didn’t know John knew the owner of the restaurant personally.

She didn’t know that this was our first outing since his diagnosis.

She didn’t know that we had to wait for weeks for the doctors to okay this date.

She didn’t know that his life was upside down.

She didn’t know what he was living through, what we were witnessing on a daily basis, how sick he really was.

You see, she only knew what she judged.

She didn’t know what was underneath.

We left that restaurant as quickly as possible, so as not to start a commotion. As we walked past her table, her boys staring at John’s hat, it took everything in me not to tell her off, honestly.

John, embarrassed beyond belief, stopped at her table, took off his hat and said, “I sure hope your boys never have to wear their hats in public, Ma’am. Especially if it is to cover up their cancer.”

Her eyes popped open, her face turned red and she stammered an un-intelligible sentence.

I was so letdown that day.

Letdown we are capable of such ignorant ugliness.

I’ve made it a point since then to ask myself: do I see what is underneath? Do I notice those around me and treat them as creations of God? Or do I judge them by their outward appearance, instantly writing them off?

1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his appearance or at the height of his stature, for I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

I wonder today: is it the heart you and I have been looking at?

Walk out a radical faith today and follow our Father’s lead.

The woman collecting cans, she is loved by Him.
The teenager with baggy pants, God knows his name.
The store clerk who messes up your order, God holds her desires in the palm of His hand.

What will we do today?

I pray we embrace the heart and do the God thing.

Kristen Schiffman writes at Exemplify Magazine. She welcomes you to check it out today!

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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