I once traveled to West Virginia, (Once was enough…Oh, I’m just kidding!) and was disturbed by the number of dead deer on the side of the interstate. Apparently West Virginia is not a good place to be a deer. Since returning to Alabama to live, I have noticed Alabama’s not a good place to be an armadillo.
Used to be opossums had a high mortality rate here, but I think that armadillos have taken the top spot. I once heard a joke that went like this:
“Why does a chicken cross the road? To prove to the possum it can be done!”
Well, these days, someone needs to help out the armadillos.
Almost every time I venture onto Interstate 59 through Birmingham, I see the remains of a too-slow armadillo. I’ve recently learned that armadillos have been in south Alabama for a while, but they are moving steadily north. I’ve sworn to my kids that should I ever see one alive I am going to catch it and bring it home if only to prove to them that live ones do exist. I should be able to catch one, they apparently aren’t all that fast.
I’ve not heard a public outcry over the loss of so many armadillos. I know they aren’t all that cute, furry, or cuddly. But are we only saddened over the loss of the cute, furry and cuddly? Maybe we are. We do tend to place higher value on attractiveness.
I recently heard someone tell the story of how a young teenage girl was involved in a car accident, losing her leg as a result, and how the tragedy was made worse because she was so beautiful. I’m not even sure the person telling the story was aware that they had made that qualification.
Would the situation have been any less tragic if the girl had been less than beautiful?
It’s just human nature that we value beauty. I once heard of a study where infants were shown photos of different faces. Some beautiful, some, well… not. The babies all seemed to prefer the photos of the beautiful faces, their gazes lingering longer on those photos. Interesting.
I think, however, whenever someone excuses something as human nature, we need to be cautious. It should sound bells and whistles of warning in our heads. It’s human nature that gets us into trouble every time. It’s what got Adam and Eve kicked out of the garden, left Israel wandering in the desert for forty years, and Jesus crucified.
The Bible tells us that man looks upon outward appearances, but God looks on the heart. It’s hard for us to do that. It’s hard to know someone’s heart, but I think we are supposed to try, and that means we have to open ourselves up to relationships.
I once took care of an older gentleman in the hospital who had been injured years ago in an explosion. His face, neck, torso, and arms and hands were all damaged in the blast. After dozens of reconstructive surgeries, his appearance was still marred. If I am completely honest, had I encountered him casually somewhere I would not have likely thought, “Now there’s someone I want to know.”
Yet after spending a few moments in conversation with him as his nurse, I found his outlook on life inspiring. I also found that rather than sitting back all these years and feeling sorry for himself, he chose to speak to kids in burn/trauma units in an attempt to encourage them to keep going even though recovery from major burns is just the hardest recovery there is. Most in this world would devalue him based on his appearance, but to God this man is priceless and has much to offer.
I love the Brandon Heath song, “Give Me Your Eyes”. So many times, I’d just like to be able to see through God’s eyes as I look at people. I know there is so much that I miss when I look at others with my own limited vision. I’d love to be able to see past a pretty face to a broken heart, or past a somewhat homely face to see a heart of gold.