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This is not "Little Red Riding Hood"

05/04/2013 10:53

When you were a small child, did you enjoy dressing up in a variety of costumes?  Perhaps, you even took the persona on & had great fun with the costume & an active imagination.  It is a heart’s delight when our sons have dawned costumes over the years & put on skits.  Play is good for our hearts. 

In our complex world, the simple has received a costume too.  There are seemingly so many layers of complexity that it appears that it is difficult at times to strip situations down to simplicity.  When things are simple, we don’t usually hear the words, “I am so stressed out about this” attached to the situation.  Do we value simplicity though?  Our collective actions would suggest that we seem to value complexity.  Complexity though can prove to be a costume hiding what is truly underneath & at the core of each one of us.

When our sons are Power Rangers or Spiderman, we still know that they are themselves underneath.  They know this too.  This is a straight forward example of what is at the core underneath costumes.  It can be more involved to welcome the core of adults.

We have all likely heard the saying, “you cannot judge a book by its cover.”  This is true in almost all aspects of life.  It certainly is true in many human encounters.  Once we become a certain age, we learn certain behaviors that cloak our true identity.  My experience has been that to live life with our hearts perpetually on our sleeves does not necessarily serve everyone or every situation.  We learn that some behaviours are valued in some situations.  We learn to adapt.  That makes sense. 

Do we realize that people are not always understood or seen for who they truly are?  Are some folks really refined in the art of “techniquing” or putting on false charm during public encounters?  Do those folks’ behaviours suggest that they are potentially better friends, neighbors, employees, or community organizers?  Boiled down to a simple answer, we may quickly answer yes.  Let’s turn our thinking inside out & upside down for a moment.  What if I told you that my experience over the years has been that I profoundly appreciate folks who may have a more “weathered” exterior behaviourly.  I like to call these encounters, “meeting people who are sheep in wolves’ clothing.”  My husband laughs everytime he hears this reference.  These are the unsung heroes that don’t “technique” their way through all facets of life, but rather live authentically & are at peace with the fact that some people as a result will “get them” & many will not.  That takes incredible courage to stand out in the crowd by voicing what is true & right with a spirit of generousity towards others.  It is not the popular way.  It is the person that courageously takes a stand with a straight forward stance from a servant’s heart that is a beautiful person to be admired in my mind.  It takes a boldness to stand up for others & for simple values in the world.  It takes bravery.  It takes choice to discard masks or costumes of “techniquing” or having a personal agenda & instead standing in the way when a fellow human is being pulled down. 

One of my favourite recent examples of meeting up with someone who was a “sheep in wolves’ clothing” is somewhat related to diabetes.  Every 4-6 months, I make that unwelcome trip to the medical lab for bloodwork in preparation for my endocrinologist appointment.  I don’t know anyone who looks forward to going to the blood lab.  On this trip to the blood lab, I did what most people do who have to go there, I got up super early & tried to get it out of the way.  I was patting myself on the back for arriving at the parking lot 15 minutes before the lab was scheduled to open.  I thought that it was going to be great to be out of there in record time.  Upon entering the hallway to the lab, my heart sank.  There was already a line up of at least 20 people!  Then it hit me that most folks have to fast for a morning lab test so it made sense that people would choose to get to the lab as early as possible.  There was a great deal of grumbling going on in that hallway.  Personally, I decided to “take it as it comes” since I had a book with me.  This would be an opportunity to enjoy one of my books.  As I was about to open my book, the gentleman in front of me began to speak to me in what would have appeared to many as a gruff-like way.  Ah, I thought to myself, this just may be a “sheep in wolves’ clothing.” 

The gentleman was not subdued like many others in the line-up.  He turned to me & said, “what are you reading pony tail girl?”  I had flown out of bed that morning & stuck my hair that way in a race to get the lab over with.  I laughed & showed him the book.  The book was about patience.  He asked me if I was into all that self help stuff.  I answered that I am more an advocate of continuous learning because I do not know what I do not know.  Then I asked him what he was reading.  He was reading a criminology book.  I was fascinated.  During early university, I had considered a career in probation & parole.  I had read plenty of criminology books & found them to be quite interesting.  We chatted for a very long time & one topic lead to the next.  We soon found the weaving of the thread of common experiences & people.  We had both volunteered for the same organization in town.  Best of all, he had worked with my Dear Heart God Dad several years ago at the correctional facility.  Before he mentioned my God Dad’s name this gentleman described him as someone that stood up for all that was right even at personal cost to himself…a man of principle through & through.  Then he said my God Dad’s name.  That was when not only did I know that this gentleman in front of me was indeed a “sheep in wolves’ clothing”, but also that this was going to be the best trip to the lab ever.  It was an honour meeting this fellow.  Neither one of us could believe how fast that 45 minute wait went by.  He has the courage to be himself & I admire & admired that.

As we approach each new day, my heart’s hope is that we enjoy the gift of folks out there that “get” that we don’t need costumes.  We get to choose to be ourselves.  And in turn, may you be exactly yourself.

Smiles, Saundie :)

Blessings for a weekend of joy to you.  On Monday, I will share, "Every Day Heroes & Mentors" :)