Sunday, August 8, 2010

What would you do if...

It was pretty normal for people to stare at her. In fact, it was even what you might call "common" for people to stare at her. You know her, she's the one that is so overweight that you just look and wonder to yourself -how did you let yourself get there? It's a question she asks herself on a daily basis too.

So there she stands, waiting to be seated at her table in the crowded restaurant on a Friday night. The look on her face is anything but happy. You even notice that she seems so uncomfortable, you know her back must hurt, knees ache and it's probably not super easy to breathe when you are that big.

You notice that in spite of her extremely high weight that she has a beautiful face. And, all the things that can be "bought" she has. Her nails are done, her hair is colored and styled, she has a designer handbag... but for her, those things come easy.

Later, as you sit at your table, you almost can't help looking at her and wondering what it must be like to barely fit in a chair. Even more, you look to see what she is going to eat. There must be 40 other people in this restaurant, but you only really notice her. You hate to keep looking every few minutes, but you do it anyways.

You may notice that as she sits there talking to her dinner mate that she somehow manages a few smiles. You carefully note the artificial sweetener that she puts into her tea and think to yourself -good! Almost as if you are grading her and waiting for her to screw up. You watch her almost as if you have never seen someone eat before. If you were a child were paying this much attention to someone, you would be corrected and told how rude it is to stare. But, you are no child and you know how to "look" without "looking."

Then the moment arrives that you expected. How could she? Doesn't she know that putting butter on that white bread is why she's so big? Contempt curses through you and you feel almost vindicated that she takes a few bites of that bread. You think to yourself -how sad. Not in a soft hearted way, but in a somewhat disgusted way. You might even lean over to the person sitting with you and mention the big lady and point out that she's eating bread...

Your attention wanes a bit as you have now satisfied your curiosity and expectation. Just by eating the bread and butter, she has secured a low place in your internal hierarchy of people in the world outside of you. But you'll peek again and God help her if she has anything less than a tiny piece of grilled fish and broccoli. Let the waiter bring her a cheeseburger and maybe some ranch dressing on her salad and she will unintentionally lower herself to the bottom of your list.

So when your dinner is finally done, there is a tiny, sparkling good feeling coming from the food you ate. You feel full and it takes your mind off of the lady at the other table, and your job, and your life for a bit. You know full well that you don't need desert, but your desire to feel just a little bit better is overwhelming.

When the waiter comes over and asks if you are interested in desert, you reluctantly reply "Yes, I'll have the cheesecake." You hate the fact that you ordered it, but it's really all you have. And yes, the lady who's been staring at you from the moment you stood there waiting to be seated is still watching you. But you ignore her, you always ignore people who stare at you. You have to to survive. Doesn't she know that you would be thin just like her if you could? Doesn't she realize that you aren't a bad person and that you take care of yourself in every way that you can? I mean, doesn't she see that you have a beautiful face, your nails are done, that your hair is colored and styled and that you are carrying a designer handbag?

What would you do if you were her?

It seems to me that we all have this fatal flaw. You see, we are all human. We are prone to be imperfect. We make mistakes and fail, sometimes to legendary proportions. Sometimes we hate who we are and what we have become. But that's not the whole picture. There's more.

We all have the power to change. I personally believe that it's one of the greatest personal gifts that God has given us. You can change it all. How you look, how you feel, even who you are. Think about it. More importantly, Do it. From the little to the big, do it.