Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Saved by the Anne Frank of Oysters

Freshman year of college. I looked to my right. There was a girl in a sorority that I really liked and would be visiting during Rush just a few weeks later. I gulped, and ten thousand butterflies came rushing into my stomach. I looked to the left, and there was a girl who looked like Eva Mendes. The butterflies began to wave their white flags and play Taps inside Shelby's stomach. I was a goner. Just write "L-o-s-e-r" across my forehead because this was about to be a crash and burn display. I looked back in front of me at the man who was interviewing the three of us and anxiously awaited his question. It, of course, was the infamous, "If you could have dinner/ a conversation with any person in history, who would it be and why?" He excluded Jesus, who was my instant first answer, so now I was stumped. Unfortunately for me, we did not have ample time to discover the perfect answer. We simply went one after another down the line. If I could not mention Jesus, a president was the next answer that popped into my head. Well, obviously it popped into Eva Mendes's mind too because what did she say? Thomas Jefferson. I didn't hear her reasoning because I went into panic mode- mad at the girl for taking my answer and thinking Eva just needed to go back to Hollywood and wondering what in the WORLD I was going to say. She ended her probably perfect answer, and then all eyes went on me.
I took a deep breath, and then something along the lines of this came out at a nervous-Speedy Gonzales rate. "I would talk to Anne Frank. She was only a teenager, yet she had such a tremendous impact on the world. Even when she was facing a concentration camp and being persecuted, she said that, "Despite everything, I believe people are good at heart." I would like to talk to someone who was capable of having a perspective like that even in the midst of struggles."
When I finished, I think I looked to the ceiling in awe at the great, great beams of celestial light and wisdom beaming down on me and mouthed the words, "Thank you." On a serious note, I honestly don't have any idea where that answer came from, but I was definitely Saved by the Anne Frank.
I think that in life sometimes I took the Anne Frank concept a little too much to heart. I mean a teacher told me once that she knew I was going to be just like her. I was puzzled by her statement and asked what she meant. She proceeded to tell me that on her wedding day, right before she walked down the aisle, her mother told her that they did not have to go through with the service. They could cancel it all right now. She did not have to do this. Apparently, she was marrying a man with a "bad boy edge," and my teacher thought I was going to wind up in her shoes. Comforting, huh? I suppose in high school, I was drawn to the boys that had a little rougher edge. I will justify myself by saying that Nicholas Sparks and A Walk to Remember warped my mind, and I expected my own "Shane West" to leave his wild days behind and build me a telescope. Once again, this is a joke.
Although I would hate to be the bride who is marrying someone that my own mother is concerned about, I feel as if we have to take Anne's advice and apply it to our lives. We have to set everything else aside and look at the heart. More importantly, we have to believe that there is good in everyone and that no one is hopeless.
After all, a pearl does lie beneath the ugly, ordinary, and at-first-glance useless oyster shells.
In life, we are surrounded by oysters. Heck, you and I both are oysters in a sense. We all can be ugly and hurtful at times. We can all feel useless and be treated like we are by others. We can be written off as ordinary. We sometimes forget that we have the potential to bear something beautiful- to bear a pearl. So to all of you reading this, if you are feeling more on the oyster side and feeling ordinary, know that you are EXTRAORDINARY and have the potential to foster a priceless pearl. Likewise, we must take this approach as we observe others. I can only imagine what our world would be like if everyone had Anne Frank's perspective and if we looked past the oyster and saw the pearl. Wouldn't it be magical? We have to set aside stereotypes. We have to set aside barriers. We have to set aside comfort zones and judgment. We have to set aside the oyster shells.
So the next time you go to judge someone or write them off as an oyster, think again. Who knows, there could be a pearl lingering beneath their surface. Even better, it could be a pearl that was only meant for you to find. The next time you begin to see the oyster, I hope you are Saved by the Anne Frank of Oysters. After all, He saw past the depths of your oyster shells and saw the pearl. He offered you a saving grace. Extend it to others.

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