A few days ago a facebook friend of mine posted a video of Dustin Hoffman talking about his experience making the movie Tootsie. I don’t click on many links people post so I’m not quite sure what prompted me to click on this one. Possibly a bit of boredom at the moment. I’m very glad I did! He mentioned that in order to take on the role he wanted the makeup department to be able to transform him into a woman that you could pass on the street without someone knowing it was a man in drag or even turning their head for a second take. He felt they succeeded, but then Dustin asked them to go a step further and make him a beautiful woman. They chuckled and told him that was as good as they were going to get. This made a huge impact on him as he realized people would overlook him and possibly not even give him the time of day due to the fact that he didn’t meet the world’s standards of a beautiful human being. At that moment he acknowledged that there have been many interesting women he has come in contact with in his life that he has looked over based purely on their appearance.
It was a month or more ago that I ran across this youtube video of Lacey Buchanan as she tells the story of her baby boy Christian. I urge you to watch. I caution you to have Kleenex handy. This remarkable young woman is raising a young boy that most people would have aborted. She is raising a child in a world where a visual first impression is sometimes all the further you’ll get in connecting with other people.
I find it very sad that our world seems to function on the basis of appearance. But then there can be another side to this coin. This judgmental coin. The side where from first glance someone seems to fit our opinion of “normal” or even “attractive”. Until you get to know them.
Last Wednesday night in our women’s bible study, one of the ladies shared about how their life has changed now with a beautiful foster child they’ve taken into their home. He has some emotional issues and learning/behavioral disabilities. She mentioned how she has realized that he doesn’t always respond to acts of love like you may expect; but she has learned through this experience that if someone doesn’t have any idea what love is you can’t expect a certain response. He has to learn what love looks like by their actions; by them showing him God’s love. For him it has not been as simple as life with loving parents in a functional home; growing up with a simple understanding of love and acceptance. Unfortunately, he is in a world where many will turn away from him simply because he may act out as a means of trying to see where he fits into this world and his need for that love and acceptance he doesn’t even comprehend.
As you know if you’ve read any of my blog articles, I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. This leaves me with conditions that get a general response of “but you don’t look sick”. It leaves me often with a messy house, a list of chores to still be done, days spent in bed, days spent trudging through trying to appear as if there isn’t any pain running through my body, days overwhelmed by depression and sometimes needing to back out of certain engagements and outings. As with many others in our world with diseases and conditions, either mental or physically internal, that isn’t worn on the outside like a badge so easily recognizable.
I’ve really been burdened lately for people’s hearts. For their sense of acceptance. For who they are on the inside. For the daily load they carry of either their physical differences or their mental/emotional differences. Differences all based on our own ideas of what is normal and acceptable. We all have a line, our own reference point. That line is based on ourselves and how we perceive ourselves. So sad that sometimes we don’t even measure up to our own line of acceptable standards.
I love Hillsong’s worship song Hosanna. My favorite verse of that song reads “Heal my heart and make it clean, Open up my eyes to the things unseen. Show me how to love like You have loved me, Break my heart for what breaks Yours.” It’s talking about asking God to break our hearts to see the pain in those around us. To heal us from the pride in our hearts that would make us think we are better or above other people. To look past the obvious at first glance and look for what is in the heart of others, what we can’t see. Realizing that God loves this individual and He may want to use me as the one that shows them His love through my actions toward them. Even as far as to love ourselves. Our broken, flawed selves. All works in progress. All needing God’s love.
My prayer is that even today by a simple smile or gentle action and kind words we can show others they are loved!
Please click here to listen to this incredible song sung by Hope’s Call. (I just happen to know the singers! 🙂 Allow it to speak to you, to know how much you are loved and to in turn, be able to show love to others! “You are loved with no conditions, you are loved with no remorse, the scars of your forgiveness are engraved upon the Lord, you are loved!”