“What’s up front counts?” these words started from grown-ups when I was in 5th grade – and there I was, the tallest girl in class, my nose stuck in books on school-bus rides – because if your nose is stuck in a book, your eyes can’t see the people making fun of a mouth needing braces. I worked hard to deflect attention away from myself – and those what’s-up-front-are-what-counts words just made me want to hide more. Those words were a gauntlet thrown down. I slumped into rebellion.
I wanted a guy to like me for all the inside stuff – not the what’s-up-front stuff. The literalist in me didn’t understand smooze, couldn’t wade through the nuances of certain brands of humor. At 11, I didn’t feel equipped to find this guy on my own, so I asked God – the greatest match-maker of all, to find one for me.
When the braces came and went, I outgrew my shyness and insecurities, my eyes lifted out of bus-ride books and I tentatively stepped out of my self-imposed tower – because I just wasn’t the kind of damsel in distress to wait in a tower for her knight in shining armor to come lolloping along. On my journey, I discovered treasures and gifts within myself. I didn’t know how they worked, didn’t know how they fit together but I left for college with all these inside things clanging about. Exuberance, I must say, makes up for a lack of grace in the growing – and hopeful exuberance I had in abundance.
This guy came along, that guy came along but non lasted beyond the second date until one day, a red-head engineering student came along who did. . . last. One day, he said he loved me, that he’d not felt that way about any other girl. This girl, who’d thrown that gauntlet down so many years ago, who’d built that towering wall of protection, who wouldn’t settle for out-side things kind of love, wanted to know why? Why love me?
Was it my quirky, head-shaking humor? My green eyes – because we’d had a debate once about my green eyes. He tried to persuade me they were blue – was it my green eyes, the ones my grandmother wished on me? Was it because he didn’t need to look a word up in a dictionary – just ask me? Was it fighter in me who just wouldn’t give up?
“Because you have heart,” he’d said. He’d discovered the greatest treasure I had, the one I hadn’t even dared put a name to.
God has a hero for every girl, just as God has a heroine for every boy – one who loves each other from the inside out!