Eye of the Beholder

The man looked like a devil.

“How do you know how devils look?” I chided myself.

“Well, he looks like what I imagine a devil would,” I answered myself.

“Yes, of course I realize that looks can be deceiving,” I continued with my private analogy. “The perception of both devils and angels are in the eye of the beholder.”

He was late twenties with beefy muscles and his hair looked like a modern art project. Straw colored locks with long orange spikes erupted from his head reminding me of a scrub brush in a car wash.

And he had jewels. Earrings, eyebrow rings, nose rings, and a dozen silver studs littered his face detaining the eye from noticing his Gucci designer clothing.

The poor fellow was scantily dressed but looked fully clothed since multitudes of tattoos covered his neck and arms and legs. His eyes were hard and dull, and his mouth twisted into a cynical smirk. He glanced at me and his head whipped back to look again. And he stared.

“What planet did you come from?” the devil asked, not terribly unkindly.

I laughed. I’ve heard that a few times more than a hundred.

There I was clad from neck to wrist to ankle in a pale pink prairie dress. My long strawberry blonde hair was swept up into one of those old-fashioned pompadour do’s that were popular a couple hundred years ago.

I wore no make-up. I thought I was plenty gorgeous without the paint. Besides that, I had an aversion to the face spackle that covers the spots and cracks and makes a gal look like someone besides herself. Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder.

To the car wash scrub brush creature, I replied with a grin.

“I came from heaven. WHERE did you come from?”

Ah, yes. Where did we all come from? Why am I here, lost on the wrong planet wandering among devils in Purgatory? Where have all the angels gone?

This is not a ten minute story. Get yourself a cup of coffee and relax.

I was born and raised in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as the FLDS. I won’t tell you all about my own planet because I already told that story in my last book WHERE MUCH IS GIVEN.

This story is about your planet.

History tells many stories of strangers in strange lands. Hadassah, the Jewess, became Esther, the queen of Persia. Ruth, a Moabitess, followed her mother-in-law Naomi to Bethlehem and gave her heart to Boaz, an Israelite.

Moses, a Jew, was claimed by Pharaoh’s daughter when she rescued him from a floating basket in the river Nile. He thought he was Egyptian until he discovered his identity and later led the Children of Israel out of Egypt.

God called Abraham to leave his father’s house, and he lived as a nomad for many years. Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden. They had to establish a new home in a strange place that wasn’t nearly as lovely.

Lehi and his family left Jerusalem, the land of their birth, and crossed a turbulent ocean to begin a new civilization in a far away land. As a mere youth, Joseph was torn from his parents, sold into slavery, and later became the ruler of Egypt and thus became the means of salvation for his father’s household.

I wonder how Abraham and Moses felt as they wandered and dwelt among strangers. It had to be terrifying for Lehi’s family to leave Jerusalem and trek into the wilderness, having no idea where they were going. Imagine the concern Esther must have felt when she left her guardian Mordecai and went alone into the king’s harem.

It must have been a strange new experience for Ruth to come from a land of idol worshipers and transform into an Israelite. Can you imagine how Joseph felt, an untried innocent boy in an idolatrous land? Try to imagine what he must have experienced when Zelica, a seductress of renowned beauty, forced her charms upon him.

How true it is that beauty is only in the eye of the beholder.

Who can say where we shall go and what our sojourn will be? Where did we come from and where are we going? Can you foresee the distance your influence will travel? What home can you claim? To whom does this land belong? Who is the Master that governs all?

The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?

Are we not all strangers?

They say you don’t have to be a Christian to be a good person.

I say it sure does help.

From Stranger in a Strange Land

By Maggie Jessop