When “Unique” Is a Good Thing

Cynthia Herron Christianity 8 Comments

I knew a girl in college who had a flair for the dramatic. She had long, flowing tresses and dark, expressive eyes. She often wore flowery peasant blouses teamed with ruffled skirts, multiple gold bangles, and twin hoops in each ear. She also ate a lot of garlic (touting its myriad health benefits), and she was an accomplished artist. Rarely, was she without a sketch pad.

“Julia” had an exotic style reminiscent of a gypsy and an exuberance for life.

She was “unique.”

I wondered if the curious stares or quiet whispers of our classmates ever bothered her.

One day I asked her, “What would you like to do with your art major? Are you going to teach?”

Julia laughed in a soft, almost melodic, kind of way.

“Of course. Then after a few years of that, I’m going to open my own studio.”

“Oh,” I replied, matter-of-fact. “Sounds like a plan. Set your own hours and sell your own work, huh?”

She nodded. “That’s part of it, sure. But what I’d really like to do is create for a cause.”

That puzzled me. Create for a cause?

“You know,” Julia continued, “Use my gift for a higher purpose. I want to draw and paint because it gives me joy and I’m pretty good at it, but I also want to sell enough of my stuff to buy shoes.”

Okay. She had my attention. I swallowed the rest of my sandwich.

“Shoes?”

Surely, there were bound to be more of the thick-soled, open-toed sandals back in her dorm room. Or something equally as…garish…er–functional.

“Not for me,” she replied, as if reading my thoughts. “For them.”

Julia scooted her lunch tray aside and flipped over to a spot in her sketch pad, pointing to a page where children’s faces were drawn with life-like precision.

I still didn’t understand.

“School kids?”

“No. The orphans. In Africa. Or China. Or maybe even India.”

“Ohhhh.”

Wow.

We were 18 at the time, and here was a girl who already knew what her mission on earth was and what it would take to accomplish it.

“Julia” didn’t care if she took the long way around to get there.

The girl who smelled of garlic, dressed like a gypsy, and coined “unique” eventually became a missionary I’m told.

******

Do you think we often rush to judgement when we meet unique individuals?

How do you extend the love of Christ to those who are different?

Photo Credit: jiggoja/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Blessings Always,

Comments 8

  1. Loree Huebner

    Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing, Cynthia.

    I think we do rush to judgement sometimes. It’s human nature. I’ve also been the one on the other side of the fence where the people didn’t realize that I was one of them. I was judged by my clothing. I have some of that “gypsy” blood in me too.

  2. Post
    Author
    Cynthia Herron

    Loree, it can be hurtful when we’re on the receiving end. I think when it happens to us, it’s certainly a learning experience. I believe we tend to be more considerate of others’ “uniqueness” then.

    Will you be wearing bangles and scarves at conference? 😉

  3. Jessica R. Patch

    I don’t but then I’ve had every color of hair on the planet, I think and if you saw a line up of my family you’d understand why I never judge by appearances. Pretty sure my brother wears a permanent mug shot face and yet, he’s a teddy bear with a huge heart…and gut (but don’t tell him I said that.)

  4. Post
    Author
    Cynthia Herron

    Jess, I think as we mature in Christ we realize that we should cast a few less stones, lest we get caught in the crossfire.

    (And I won’t say anything to your brother. It’ll stay between us and cyberspace.)

  5. Beth K. Vogt

    I’ve been judged — and I’ve judged others.
    As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to handle others more gently, more lovingly, and to remember everyone is made in the image of God.
    Everyone.

  6. Post
    Author
    Cynthia Herron

    Beth, I wish we could have the same wisdom at 20 that we have many years later in life. Such a great point: “everyone is made in the image of God.” Well put!

  7. pattisj

    I was formulating the answer to your first question, and see Loree beat me to it! lol Human nature and “first impressions” came to mind.
    For the second question, I smile, try to make conversation. Oft times, the “different” person is shunned or ignored.

  8. Post
    Author
    Cynthia Herron

    Patti, I think we all too easily form “first impressions” when we see someone who’s different or a bit off-beat–you’re right. It’s human nature. As I’ve grown in Christ, He’s humbled me to be more accepting and less judgmental. It doesn’t mean we have to adopt the same moral code as others, but we do need to extend the same love and mercy as we’ve been shown.

    I know a smile certainly goes a long way. It’s a very visable nod to those who feel inadequate or out of place.

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