Some people just suggest a story to my mind, I can't help it. The other day I saw a well seasoned old duffer with a rumpled suit in the middle of the day. It was in the parking lot of the Hometown Buffet, so I know he wasn't involved in a formal affair. But the story this visual gave me was that of a veteran gangster. I could swear he was carrying a piece somewhere in that rumbled suit. Of course it was a dark suit. And his face displayed a great deal of dangerous experience, confirmed by his thinning hair. He and his moll found an old four door sedan and climbed in to drive away. They may have been sweet old grandparents, looking forward to visiting the kiddies. But that is not what my fertile imagination suggested to me.
Then, while we were waiting for a traffic signal, what should appear in front of the car but a woman, carrying a 2 year old boy who was stiff as a board. His shirt was raised enough to expose his pudgy belly and its button. There was that distinctive defiant expression that every parent knows so well. His arms were outstretched, and she was carrying him like one would tote a pile of firewood, cradled in the arms. About 10 feet behind them came a male figure, pushing an empty stroller. It really doesn't take a fertile imagination to read that story.
Actually it is amazing how many times I have seen a little one, riding the hip of a distraught mother who was pushing a stroller. Often this picture includes several bags of groceries in the stroller, or all the discarded clothing of mother, child and walking sibling. Perhaps mom finds it easier to tote the tot than to lug all the accompanying baggage. I might offer to carry the little one, but it is never acceptable to allow a stranger to touch your children. So my kind intentions must remain just that.
Recently I spoke to a young lady who was sporting the most unnatural orange hair imaginable. It was casual conversation, not on the subject of hair. She was actually a very attractive young lady, and she was well spoken and respectful. Her hair told me that she was an ignorant party broad, but when we spoke, she came across more like a sweet sister. It is true that you cannot tell a book by it's cover. But why would you choose a loud, ugly cover for a nice book?
Then there is the decrepit old man who walks with a little stoop. His grey locks are getting very sparse, and he tends to wobble or shuffle as he conveys himself along. I used to feel sorry for him, but now I find that this poor old guy is me. Soon after we moved into our present home I sprawled on the steps. The guy next door came over to help me up, and that's how we met. When our relationship is strong enough I intend to tell him that the first day we met I fell for him. Okay, maybe it's not that funny. Last month at the local nursery I fell on my knee, and I have only recently felt I am recovered from that.
How well I remember what the Lord told Samuel, "Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart."