Monday Musings for November 27, 2017
I carry a small notebook Sunday mornings so I can make a quick note on things you tell me that I can’t trust to my memory. Then Monday morning, my first task is to decipher my scribbles and make sure I do what I promised I would do.
Last week there was one word that made no sense to me. “Wonder.” Why did I write that down? There must have been a reason, but I could not remember.
Later that day, it came to me in a flash. “Wonder” is the name of a movie. One of you (I still can’t remember who) recommended that movie to me. So Thursday afternoon, while everyone else was eating their Thanksgiving dinner, Helen and I went to the movies!
“Wonder” is the story of Auggie Pullman, a 10-year-old boy born with a facial abnormality. He has had 27 surgeries to make him look as “normal” as possible, but his parents have chosen to home school him in order to protect him from the cruelty of other children.
As he enters fifth grade, they decide they should shelter him no longer. “Wonder” tells the story of life for a fifth grader with a face that makes everyone stare. It’s a movie about cruelty and kindness.
When I was in grade school, we were cruel to those who didn’t “fit in”. I was the recipient of some of that cruelty, and I was also guilty of dishing out more of it. I am ashamed of myself when I think back to things I said and did that seemed like harmless fun at the time, but they weren’t harmless and they weren’t fun to the ones being targeted.
As adults, it’s a good thing we have outgrown all that. Right? Alas, a big part of the difficulties facing our world today is that we grown-ups who should know better still treat those who are different from us with cruelty, not kindness.
The principal of Auggie’s school meets with one of the bullies and his parents. He says, “Auggie can’t change the way he looks. So maybe we can change the way we see.”
Here’s my two-fold suggestion; (1) See the movie. (2) Be aware as you go through your week of people you encounter who are “different”, who you tend to look down upon with disdain. Go out of your way to treat these people with an extra measure of kindness.
“The Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (I Samuel 16:7).