So I’m sitting outside the other day with Loco and one of the neighbour girls who often comes over to visit, and she turns to me and asks, “Can I have your dog when you die?”
Ah, I’m thinking to myself, the innocence of children. She thinks my little Loco (who’s already nearly ten in people years—making her eligible for Old Age Security in dog years, if they actually paid it out to dogs [I’ll have to write a letter to Peta]) is going to outlive me.
“Oh,” I say, “Loco’s ten years old.” But she keeps looking at me for an answer, so I continue, “She’ll most likely only live to be about 15.” She continues to look at me as I rock back and forth in my porch chair, feeling now like I should be knitting socks and pulling a shawl over my shoulders.
“Um, do I actually look to you like I’m going to die before that?”
She nods. And with childlike sincerity adds, “Yes… well, except for your hair.”
Definitely not getting the dog. And, although I did enjoy the rest of our time together (I have the sweetest little neighbours), I had to wonder if I should have invested all that money in a good straightener when a set of curlers was more my speed?
Suddenly, how old I looked to the rest of the world mattered very much to me.
And the way we look to others, whether it’s our appearance or persona, can seem like a trap at times.
We have within us an inner witness to the forgiveness, life and promises of our Creator—while outward circumstances bear down with such force they threaten to snuff it all out. And, if that isn’t bad enough, those looking on can threaten to annihilate us completely by their erroneous assessments—judging who we are by the way things look to them.
We must learn to swim against the onslaught. One thing they we can’t do is listen to popular opinion, not even our own. Believe what God says about us, choose the path less travelled—and that, like the famous poet said—will make all the difference.
Other people’s opinions can box us in if we let them, but God has a lot to say about who we are, even when the rest of the world has our days numbered.