I was in line today at McDonalds waiting to order my Southwest salad. A few people in front of me, standing alredy at the counter, was a man who had been badly burned at some point in his life. Long since healed, his face was full of scar tissue and I noticed half his ear was missing.
I looked at this man and thought about inner beauty, about how people are all the same inside. Could I love this man? Could I have sex with this man? Looking closer I could see that he was handsome and he still was, he had an attractive face and was in his early thirties.
I thought about life, how things change, how appearances change, how some of us are luckier than others. I thought about how he was probably used to stares, about how it would be easy to get a complex about that. But also how I was looking at him, not at the scars, about how I was looking beyond and about how anyone you'd actually want in your life would also be someone who could look beyond.
I remember on a vacation in Florida I asked a guide at a stately home to take my photo. She said she wouldn't be any good at it as she had cereberal palsy and I insisted saying it would be fine. She was humbled that I'd even ask her and after she took our photo, which I now have framed by the way, she explained how grateful she was to have even been hired. She said she had been sure no one would ever hire her with her disease and loved her new job and was very appreciative. Then she said something I've never forgotten, she said "Well, everybody has something." She looked apologetic and said I wouldn't at my age and tried to apologize but I said No, she was right, everyone does.
Everyone has their cross to bear. I remember reading once that if you took all your issues to a swap, when you looked beside you to the issues of the person next to you, you'd take all yours back. And this is ultimately the thing, to accept yourself, to love yourself, and to go easy on yourself. So often we're our own worst critics.
I was thinking all this and the man turned to me and said "You got a problem with me?" I looked closer and noticed he appeared homeless, that he was wearing a red mardi gras beaded necklace, that his shirt was open exposing many tattoos, that he spoke like someone with a third grade education. I shook my head no and the McDonald's employee got his attention, they argued for a second before the man started yelling "I'll spit on you! Get my food! I paid for that! I'll spit on you!".
Ahh, good times.