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Seeking His Presence by Teresa A. LeNeave;Encouraging teens to look for options

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Don't Let the Wrapping Fool You

by Teresa LeNeave

When life's not so good, what do you do? Does your core emotions lead you around as if you had a bridal around your head? Do you want to hide from the world? Do you get passive? Angry? Defensive? Hateful? Fall on your knees and pray more? Or, do you retreat into your own little world and hope it all goes away? Does the gamut of emotions sling you around like a rag doll?

None of us do it right all the time. All of us do it right, sometime. You don't always fail. You don't always lose. Daily, we have opportunities to choose a path of godliness. We pass through the same experiences, packaged in different wrapping, and we think we are the only one with problems like this. We look at people around us and think, "I wish I had it all together like he does, like she does." But, very likely, they are looking at you the same way.

Life can be like a giant roller coaster or a kiddy roller coaster ... But it's always a roller coaster. Sometimes you're up. Sometimes you're down. Things don't stay the same. Stuff happens. Life can get pretty bumpy, but there are some things that make the ride a little more comfortable.

The people in your life are there for a reason. People are like Christmas presents. They come wrapped in many different sizes and shapes. Some are wrapped in beautiful paper and ribbon; others are in wrapped in cheap ugly paper, but inside there is always the same thing. A gift. Inside of every person is a gift.

Today, I stepped out of my car in a hospital parking lot. A man stepped out of his beat up truck, right beside me. His worn pants didn't fit him and had rolled down around the waist showing the inner lining. His shirt was tattered and dirty, barely covering his stomach. My first instinct was, "Poor guy." But my next thought was, "Make him feel good about himself. He needs it."

I spoke and smiled a genuine smile (there is a difference). His demeanor changed instantly. The sad look on his face disappeared. He smiled back and raised his head a little higher. I didn't see his outward condition any more. I saw a person, just like me, wrapped in a different package ... who greatly appreciated being valued.

I don't always do it right, but that day I knew I did. I hope that short encounter changed his whole day. It don't take long to light up a corner.

Value every person you meet. They are all just like you, but wrapped in a different package. The old guy was not very clean. He wore tattered clothes. He stepped out of a truck that had seen it's better days, years ago. He was at a hospital for a reason and there's no telling what kind of problems he was having. Here was a perfect opportunity to let love shine in a dark world.

And, don't let the wrapping fool you. Another person may be dressed like they stepped out of a magazine, but inside they may be broken, depressed, and lonely. The wrapping is just that. It's just a wrapping, but inside we all have similar feelings and similar needs.

So many think,"I'm in the way. I have nothing to live for. There's nothing I can do, I'm too old. I'm too dumb. I don't live in the right neighborhood. I'm too sick. I'm not wanted. I'm not needed." The truth is, you have the perfect opportunity to light up someone's world. We're never too young, too old, too poor or too rich to make another person feel better. You may be the only light in their world today. Smile at the very next person you see. I bet you'll feel better and I know they will.

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