First Impressions.

“Well, what did you think of him? Could you see it in his eyes…the truth?”

I pretended this question was directed towards me, even though it was for my counter-part to contemplate. I kept trying to remember if I could see the truth about who this particular person REALLY was in his eyes – In the words that he spoke – In the way that he conducted himself…

I couldn’t honestly answer this gentleman’s question.

I couldn’t pretend that the five minutes I’d spent with him were enough to determine if his words and his eyes were properly aligned.

I couldn’t let myself give him more or less credit than he perhaps deserved.

It’s now a day later, and I’m still thinking about his question. One thing I’ve learned about the general public is that their truths will most likely not be discovered within the first few minutes of meeting. I don’t even recognize my own self sometimes…and I’ve known her for quite a while now. There are days when I look in the mirror and feel the need for introductions… “Hi. Nice to meet you. Have we met before? You look like someone I used to know.” I mean…really, y’all – Don’t we all get outside of ourselves sometimes…some days…some years?

I’m guilty of first impressionism. I’ve met individuals and decided their worth in connection with life very quickly – Then was forced, by circumstance, to get to know them on a real level. Many times I discovered that I was quite wrong in my initial assessment of their truth. If not for more than five minutes, I would have missed out on a lot of love…a lot of laughter…a lot of living. Thank the Lord for circumstances…Good and bad.

I’ve stowed away several conversations with folks that are now friends (well, not all of them) that started out like this, “I thought you were a snob, until I got to know you.”

Until I got to know you

One semester of college, I can’t remember which year – 3rd, 4th, 6th – I sat next to a freshman football player, on the back row of some ridiculous required class. I swear, we literally never spoke. Our interaction consisted of a smile or a nod. I regularly parked my heavy end in the seat closest to the exit, right next to the door, so that I could slip out relatively unnoticed when the teacher turned his back to the class. One random day, I struck up a conversation with my football neighbor. I’m fairly certain that my conversation starter had nothing to do with the class, and if it did, it was about how I didn’t study for the test that I was about to honestly fail. His silence following my uncharacteristic vocal greeting caused me to initially regret my words. He stared at me for a while and finally spoke,

“I had no idea you would sound like that.”

He saw me in one dimension – The side of me that passionately disliked class. He knew of me what I let him know. No wonder he was surprised when I finally opened my mouth and let some truth out – I truthfully have a ridiculously country accent. 🙂 Sure, he knew the reality that he had gained from observing my actions…but they weren’t indicative of me on the whole – Only on the part concerning organized education. Don’t get me started on that – You will really think I’m off my recliner! Anyhoo…What I want to say is this…

First impressions of people are rarely accurate. On occasion, what you see is what you get – But for the most part, people require more than three to five minutes to reveal the truth of their character.  And y’all, like I said earlier – At times, I don’t even know my own heart. It’s not my place to figure out someone else’s. I need to focus on living God’s truth…

To stop judging…

To start really loving.