Sad, But True


Last week saw Eddie and I in Spain as we had the opportunity to escape for a few days to regroup, refresh and replan. While away, we daily took a 7 km walk on the beach front with a few tourists and shops around. I however had a very interesting experience on one of the days which I cannot but share with you today.

This particular beach had quite a few African hairdressers who make cornrow hairstyles. On this faithful day, I had a long patterned summer dress on. As we progressed on our walk, I realised that I was not getting smiles from the ladies, but a slight look of antagonism. I remember asking Eddie if was missing anything, as I didn’t know why the ladies looked pretty unfriendly on the said day. Eddie cracked a joke that it’s because I looked like them and they felt as if I was after their customers. I laughed and left it.

Not long afterwards, we wanted a particular item from one of the shops we got water from the previous day. I went into the shop while Eddie waited for me outside. As I started moving towards the isle, I noticed a lady was making her way speedily towards me. All of a sudden, she walked closely to me and started trailing me. I did not know why she was trailing me, so I stopped and said hello. Within seconds she used signs to communicate more or less that I shouldn’t be in the shop as she assumed I couldn’t afford to buy anything in the shop because she’d concluded that I was one of the hairdressers. I was surprised because I was being judged by what I was wearing and boxed up based on what someone thought of my look… (I don’t know if you remember the scene in Pretty Woman movie where Julia Roberts attempted to go shopping in a posh area and was more or less sent moving along based on her look!)

After a few minutes, Eddie walked in and I spoke to him in English. The moment the lady trailing me heard that, she gave me an apologetic smile as well as space to continue my shopping. I looked at my husband and said; ‘how sad that this lady thought I was one of the people who walk the streets trying to make ends meet, so she felt I wasn’t capable of buying a €5 item in her shop’ What a sad reaction and judgement.

As I thought about this incident, the misjudgement and the subsequent reaction of the shop assistant, I couldn’t but remember the scripture that says

‘Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes, rather it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight ’ 1 Peter 3:3 – 4

We are not meant to be defined by what we look like on the outside but as the above scripture says we should build our inner self which is the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which God values.

As I looked closely at this situation, I said to Eddie, this is so sad but true. People still judge others by what they wear and how they look. Needless to say, on getting back to our resort I changed my dress to something more acceptable so we don’t get turned back at the restaurant door when we went for dinner because of my dress and wrong conclusions by the staff.

God is on your side!


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