Sunday, October 19, 2014

The homeliest smile

I was in the return line at Sam's Club one day when I began to notice the lady at the counter being helped. I looked at her and realized that in the eyes of the world she wouldn't be given a second glance. She was a middle aged lady with clothes that were ill fitting, unfashionable and frumpy at best. Her hair looked as if a manic toddler went to work with scissors. I could hear her voice which was gravely. Her speech was halting, garbled and hard to understand. She might have been a wall flower in school or even the brunt of jokes. By her appearance she may have never been to the prom and certainly wouldn't have been in the popular crowd. 
The clerk was trying to be patient as the woman struggled to understand the return procedure and credit card technology. My heart ached as she tried to explain her return of a children's book. As I watched and listened it became obvious the woman was apologetic for her inadequices. She thanked the clerk multiple times, nodding her head each time in vigorous fashion similar to that of a child. 
As my compassion deepened a miracle occurred. It was as if the heavens opened. Love flowed freely into my mind and I felt the great depth and unconditional love that God feels for her. It was gone as suddenly as it came but it was real, profound, and life changing. 
She finally finished the return and as she turned around I was surprised. She looked at the line of people behind her and smiled a bright, genuine and happy smile. Her features were terribly homely but in that smile the beauty of heaven was evident. As she walked out the door I said silent prayer that someone on this earth would love her as she deserved. 
I will be forever changed. I will see people differently now that I have felt that pure gift of God's love for this woman. As a popular song declares "What the world needs now is love, sweet love." 
I have learned that real love often comes from the homeliest smile.