Another excerpt from my manuscript: The Commonzense of Saint James
A couple of years ago, I got a call from a gentleman who owned several real estate properties in my community. I had heard about this man and knew that he was very successful in buying and selling real estate, but I had never had the pleasure of meeting him. I had a building I wanted to sale, and he wanted to meet me and take a look at it.
On the day of our appointment, I arrived early to turn the lights on and make sure there was no trash outside the building. I noticed an old beat-up truck in the parking lot, but no one was in it. I entered the building, and while I was turning the lights on in the back, I heard someone call out hello. When I walked toward the front door, I discovered an older gentleman standing in the doorway. By his appearance, my first impression was that he was homeless and that I desperately needed to get him out the door and off the property before the sophisticated real estate investor arrived. No one wants to buy an expensive property with homeless people milling around. I asked, not in a friendly tone, if I could help him, and he introduced himself as the person I was waiting for. As soon as he said this, I understood what the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” truly meant. He offered me an apology for his appearance; he had been cleaning out one of his other buildings and hadn’t had time to shower and change. I felt the need to apologize as well for my curt greeting, but I didn’t, because that would reveal how I’d been too quick to judge. I also didn’t walk away having learned anything from this encounter until much later in my life.
Appearance is only one of many ways we discriminate. Being around people who are different from us makes us uncomfortable because it puts us off balance. In truth, however, the differences among us, as in all of nature, make this a beautiful world to live in.