No Ordinary People

Last week as I walked the old streets of Warsaw, I tried not to gape at the sharp, intelligent-looking people who strode past me. I felt like a country mouse, agog at the stylish, cultured clothes, the confident walking through gateways, the luxuriant lingering at lunch. Understated. Classy. Artsy. There were all kinds, and I loved watching them.

I caught myself thinking, “Wow, what cultured, classy people live in Warsaw.”

Later, I wondered if that was a fair assessment. I’m thinking out-loud here, and maybe I’m wrong, but I think it’s not fair or right to judge what a person’s personality is, who they really are,  by how they dress. The classy, got-it-together appearance can hide a falling-apart soul. Just as an out-of-fashion, homely appearance can veil a sparkling, keen heart and unsung talents.

I maintain that clothes reveal a person’s priorities, and not who they really are. Ok, admittedly, some of this is about me, because I don’t want people to judge me according to what I wear. I don’t like to spend a lot of time thinking about how I look, and a photo session can put me in a funk for awhile. Like most women, the times I believe I’m beautiful are rare and fleeting.

I have often seen people look askance at my veil and dress, and on good days, it makes me pity them because they don’t know what I nice friend I could be to them. =)  On bad days, their disapproval makes me want to hide. But generally, I don’t mind, because my priorities are serving my God by following His standards and wanting His approval for my decisions, plus I sort of like doing things that make people ask questions.

We are human, and we only see the outside, so that is what we quickly assess and judge. But maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe we should keep asking for Jesus’ eyes to see people as they are, to see their hearts. I think it is usually possible to see a person’s heart by what they reveal in their eyes . It takes time and gentleness and care. And if we don’t have the luxury of spending time with a stranger, we should at least give them the benefit of the doubt, and believe that, no matter how they appear, they are, in C.S. Lewis’ words, “never ordinary: you have never talked to a mere mortal.”

Nations, cultures, arts, civilization–these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, exploit–immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. –Lewis

5 thoughts on “No Ordinary People

    • I went back and read your previous comment. I usually just read the emailed version and don’t get online. What do you want? Do you want to know if there are real Christians? Do you want people to say if they think they are real Christians or to tell you about the Christians they know?
      Would you like to be in contact with a real Christian?

  1. Interesting read, especially since just the other day my daughter and I were sitting in the car eating ice cream and watching people, mostly overweight folks shuffling into the grocery store, and I was trying to describe to her how Polish people walk differently than Americans. You used the words, “strode past me,” and “confident walking,” and that is just what I was trying to convey. I understand how you could feel like a country mouse next to them because I did too. However. As you said, “it is usually possible to see a person’s heart by what they reveal in their eyes” and what I remember about how you is that your eyes see past the surface of things, and they appreciate the hidden humor and beauty of life. I hope there was a confident Warsawian or two who also saw this in you.

  2. Maybe we should keep asking for Jesus’ eyes to see people as they are, to see their hearts…. It takes time and gentleness and care…” Yes, this is so good and beautiful and true… makes me wistful. It kinda hits a bit of a hurt that is in process of healing in my own soul. And yet so quickly I forget to ask Jesus for His heart towards others.

    Sometime I had wanted to thank you too for your email, so fun! We have had a lot of computer and/or internet problems in the middle of mothering… soo anyway.

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