You can’t judge a book by its cover…if you do, you may miss out on one of the best stories you’ll ever experience.
“You can’t judge a book by its cover…” That phrase never became more true to me than when I was touched by a wonderful act of compassion shown toward me recently. It’s often that we go about our days never venturing off the paths that we’ve set for ourselves in a given day. Like browsing through a book store or library, we skim through the titles, pause at those clever covers that capture our eyes, and then continue on hardly giving the others notice. I almost followed that same routine the other day when I was out running errands…but something caught my attention and made me stop. It wasn’t something I would have considered worth the time otherwise, but what I received from the experience still warms my heart.
My late husband Steve was always meticulous about his appearance; he wanted to be at his best at all times, which is a quality that I admired in him. In his efforts to maintain his own personal standards, he was so pleased when he found a barber who finally gave him the perfect haircut. From time to time he’d tell me about the young man. Besides consistently cutting his hair precisely how he wanted it, Steve also commented on the barber’s unique appearance, notably his long beard and earrings in his earlobes; not something we were accustomed to seeing. Nonetheless, I could tell how pleased he was, which hadn’t been the case with other barbers he’d gone to in the past. As time went on, and as Steve’s cancer started taking its toll on him, I noticed that his remarks about the young barber focused on how attentively the young man would listen to his concerns about his illness and how they both shared stories relating to their personal lives.
“Indeed, not everyone has good looks, just like not everyone has good brains; but everyone is unique, and that’s what makes them equally beautiful all the same!” Felecia R. Weber 2015, OntheWingofaDove.com
I remember one afternoon when I’d driven Steve to the barber shop for, although we didn’t know it at the time, his last haircut. He’d been in quite a bit of pain and I was reluctant to just leave him there, but he insisted on going into the shop alone. I understood this; it was hard enough for him not being able to drive and he didn’t want to lose his independence completely. I was glad that I didn’t go in. Much to my surprise and humble delight, the young barber gave Steve a gift certificate from a favorite restaurant of him and his wife’s. He told Steve that they wanted us to enjoy precious time together and that was one way they hopefully could ensure that we would. Looking back, what was even more profound was this turned out to be the last time that Steve and the barber would see each other.
As I’ve mentioned, the proverbial phrase “you can’t judge a book by its cover” now has a depth of meaning for me. The afternoon I spoke of earlier when I decided to stop, was when I decided to take the time to go into the barber shop and finally meet Steve’s former barber to let him know that he’d passed away. When I entered the shop, the young barber was sitting quietly awaiting his next patron. When I first laid my eyes on him, it wasn’t the long beard or earrings that I noticed; but rather, it was the sincere compassion that filled his eyes. As I began to speak, I broke down and tears poured out of my eyes. He immediately embraced me as I sobbed and sobbed. As he softly spoke words of reassurance and comfort to me, I thought, for a brief moment, of an image I had seen many times before of a grieving soul being held tightly in the loving arms of Jesus. I suppose in a way, I was being held in my Savior’s arms through the love and compassion extended to me from the young barber. We exchanged a bit of polite conversation after I’d regained my composure, and I left thanking him for the generosity, caring and kindness that he showed toward Steve and me.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
Indeed, I shall never forget that experience, in fact I will likely reread the images of that memory many times again. Compassion, caring, kindness and brotherly love…those are amongst the things that cannot be judged by outward appearance, but they can be gratefully received.
Peace and love,
Rating: +11 (from 11 votes)