Word for the Week - BEAUTY
Her name was Cissy. She was the homecoming queen at our school where I grew up. Unlike some who are pretty, and who are more struck by their own looks than those who look at them, this girl was humble and kind. She was elected “most” in almost every category at our school. She came from a working mom and dad who had a very working-class means. She drove a used car. She was in Church every Sunday, at school every day. She worked hard in class, made great grades, was good in tennis, and a perennial cheerleader. With flowing long hair and great perfume, she was the dream of many a high school boy’s sleep.
Another girl. Her name was Sheila. She was not the homecoming queen at our school where I grew up. She would never be. In fact, from the superficial view, she was the opposite of Cissy on the beauty scale. It seemed all the school knew it, and Sheila did too. The mean guys in the school and some of the mean girls changed her name to that of a dog’s name. They called her “Shep” and they did so, not in whispers nor just behind her back. They called her that to her face. She was a simple girl who just felt this was something she’d have to live with. So, she’d smile and go on. I wonder how she hurt and cried at night from these barbs. People would not sit near her. They would not sit where she sat because not only was she not appealing in the world’s view, she wasn’t very clean. She had an odor and her clothes were dirty, often wearing the same outfit each day, every week, month after month. Hygiene and hygiene products, believe it or not, are not things that everyone can afford. If you have your choice between eating or deodorant, anyone with any sense would choose eating. And, so it was with Sheila. Her family was very poor. They lived in a box house with 4 rooms, unkept and falling apart, crumbling on the street where the structure sat. simple homecoming dresses
While no one wanted to sit with “Shep”. Everyone wanted to sit with Cissy. But where did Cissy want to sit? Believe it or not, Cissy always wanted to sit with Sheila. Not only would she sit with her, she demanded people not call her “Shep”. They still would but not where Cissy could hear them because no one wanted to disappoint Cissy. What those kids at school never knew, Cissy began to go every Saturday to that run-down house of Sheila’s. She would take hygiene products and clothes for Sheila. She would tutor and help Sheila. She would wash Sheila’s matted and lice-laden hair, never worrying that her own beautiful flowing locks could get the same infestation. Even when Cissy did get the lice, she took the strenuous measures to get rid of them while still going and helping Sheila with hers. Cissy taught Sheila about cleanliness, about washing her hair, about how to dress and how to do algebra. She even taught her how to use make-up.
On many Mondays, Cissy would walk down the school hallway with Sheila and brag on Sheila - about how good she looked, how pretty her hair was, how nice she was dressed. Cissy never told anyone the work that she had done to help Sheila each Saturday. Cissy loved Sheila and Sheila called Cissy her best friend. I bet Sheila never forgot Cissy. I would not doubt that though they live miles and states away, Sheila would say her best memory of school was her best friend, the homecoming queen – Cissy. Sheila will never forget. Nor will I.
God has called us to be the Cissys of this world. To reach out to others. To love the downtrodden, to stand up for the weak, and help the pushed aside. This is exactly what Jesus did 2,000 years ago. The majority of the 12 disciples He called, were Sheilas. The women who followed, many were Sheilas. The people He healed, spoke to, and went to their homes to eat with were Sheilas. Jesus even loves the Sheila called Johnny. He loves the Sheila called (put your name here). Now, go and do likewise – in Jesus’ Name. Because He still loves the Sheilas. That is real beauty.