Elementary school. Sybil.
Sybil was poor and cross-eyed. She wore homemade dresses and thick glasses. They called her Four-Eyes.
The class bully got in her face and shouted, “You’re ugly, Sybil. Ugglllyyyy!” Kids laughed. Sybil cried.
She was too timid to talk back; too hurt to fight back. She just cowered alone in the corner until the bell rang. Wounded. Humiliated.
Junior high. Edward.
Edward was fat. His shirts were too tight and his pants too short. They didn’t make clothes to fit people like Edward.
He looked like a blimp. And that’s what they called him—Blimpy.
Edward didn’t have any friends. Not one. He didn’t hang around for extracurricular activities after the closing bell. Why stick around for more pain?
High school. Irma.
Irma was gangly and awkward. They called her Olive Oil, teased her about boyfriends she didn’t have, and dates that were only dreams. (No one ever asked Irma for a date.)
Irma was saucy. She’d square her shoulders, stiffen her spine, look you in the eye and with a defiant toss of her head, turn and walk away. (And cry into her pillow at night I suspect.)
Richard was shaped funny. He had small shoulders and a concave chest and swayed back that sunk into a bulging belly and ponderous posterior. They called him Pearshape.
Richard didn’t buddy with anybody. He seldom spoke. And never smiled. He roomed alone. Studied alone. Ate alone. He never joined any clubs or attended any student events. He went out of his way to avoid contact with “Pearshape” hecklers.
It wasn’t Sybil’s fault that she was poor and plain.
It wasn’t Edward’s fault that he was bulky.
It wasn’t Irma’s fault that she was uncoordinated.
It wasn’t Richard’s fault that generations of genes had conspired against him.
I have no idea where they are, any of them. I hope life has treated them better later than it did earlier. I pray that they’re doing well and that they’re happy.
But I’m not just concerned about them. I’m concerned about me. Sometimes my tongue outruns my brain and spouts hurtful words. Even when I don’t say it I sometimes look at people and think it … Ugly. Fat. Stupid. Obnoxious.
As if my opinion is worth beans. It isn’t. As if my assessment makes me superior to those I judge. It doesn’t. My critical evaluation of others doesn’t really say much about them. But it says a lot about me … Harsh. Haughty. Unloving. Judgmental.
Father, I want to be like you. You don’t judge a person’s worth by his financial status, by her dress size, by where he lives, by what she drives. Every person is special to you.
Help me to see every person as beautiful. An original. Valuable. Special. Loved. A child of the King.
Please Father, make me nice.