“don’t judge a book by its cover,” my sweet momma used to say. i’m missing her today as i write this post for tomorrow. four years ago today she left this good earth and i could feel it tilt on its axis, trying vainly to readjust. she was generous when it came to people. she saw past what was on the outside; she sought to see what was inside.
the rough exterior we sometimes see on the outside of people is quite often a guise. we all know someone we believed to be gruff, but turned out to be quite the mush, once you were able to peel back the protective layers. we believe we know what someone else thinks or feels, but we are actually unable to physically pare back those visible and invisible outer layers, the extrinsic stuff, to get to the raw of their heart, to feel their actual worries or concerns or fears.
we each have our bark-masks, carefully designed for the venue or situation within which we find ourselves. we choose what to share with others, rarely brave enough to shed all that outer bark. for there have been times when you have peeled back the layers, revealed truths in confidence, perhaps looking for wisdom or common ground, and have been torturously walloped with judgement or scorn. it becomes much harder to allow the next shared peel.
it takes courage to BE who you really are with others. it takes courage to meet on common ground. we fear the gruff outermost skin, we are afraid of what we see and don’t understand. we may not realize someone else feels that same fear.
but there are cracks in the bark; there are fissures in the icy exterior. the tree may be shedding, the trunk expanding, growth waiting in the wings. allowing for cracks, fissures, reaching toward and not away – those can be the gps to another’s heart. it’s not always what it looks like. growth is waiting. because, you know, you can’t judge a book by its cover.