Sending the kids off to college has me remembering the things I’ve written to them over the years. I’m going to share a few of those posts this week–the advice seems as pertinent now as ever. I hope you don’t mind some Daddy musings…
My daughter and I once did a production of Seussical the Musical at LifeHouse, our local community theater. These thoughts arose from that odd and oddly truthful fantasy.
One of the many ways that you make my life rich is that you nudge me to do things that I would not normally do.
Case in point: Seussical the Musical.
I mean, seriously—a musical based on fever-induced hallucinations? Why?
Well, now I know. Thanks for the nudge, Kiddo.
Every great story is a reflection of the Great Story of God’s love for us. That holds true here. If you keep your eyes and heart open, you can learn great truths, even from an elephant and a few birds.
Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
Gertrude is a bird in love with an elephant. This fact presents more problems than we have space to deal with here, so let’s just focus on what she sees as the biggest issue—he doesn’t notice her. Gertrude assumes that Horton is not interested because of her looks (it never seems to occur to her that he might, I don’t know, be more interested in she-elephants). As you know, Gertrude is a rather plain-looking little bird with “A one-feather tail.” She decides that she needs a little help, so she follows the advice of Mayzie, a beautiful but ultimately empty creature. Mayzie sends Gertrude to a doctor, where the glamour, attention, and, ultimately love that she craves is “All for sale.” Convinced that this will win her Horton’s attention, Gertrude gets the Seuss version of plastic surgery to augment her assets.
She buys the lie—and nearly ruins everything.
Ding ding ding goes the irony bell. Gertrude is not interested in Horton because of his looks. She tells us that she fell for him when she noticed his, “kind and powerful heart.” And yet she assumes that Horton will only be interested in her if she looks the right way.
You see—oh, please tell me you see this—Gertrude’s new tail wasn’t really Gertrude at all. Sure it looked good, but it was too big to allow her to fly. It took away more than it gave. The price Gertrude paid for beauty was a loss of her identity. She became “beautiful” in the eyes of the world, but she was no longer Gertrude.
Baby Girl, don’t ever fall into the lie of thinking that you have to be something else in order to be attractive. First of all, if you go that route, you will never be satisfied. If you think thin is pretty, you’ll never be thin enough. If you think blonde is pretty—though you know I prefer redheads—there will never be hair color enough. If you think taller, or shorter, is what you need, there will never be heels high enough or flats flat enough to make you who you think you need to be.
Which brings me to the Second of all. You are hand-formed by the God of the Universe, and he has made you to be exactly the girl you are. Your size, your shape, your skin, your hair, your eyes, were all designed by the One who loves you most and knows you best. You are perfect in his sight—why mess with perfection? If you had moles the size of cows or an extra nostril—OK, we might get those fixed, but you see where I’m going here.
Now, am I saying that you can’t use a little makeup, or wear pretty clothes? Am I saying that girls who are not blessed with red hair can’t try a little color, just for fun? No. But be aware of why you make…augmentations.
Is it because it makes you feel pretty, and it’s fun to look your best? Great.
Is it because maybe this dress, these shoes, this makeup, this diet, will get you the attention you desperately crave?
Color me Crazy-Dad, but today’s diet leads to tomorrow’s eating disorder, if it’s done for the wrong reasons. Today’s makeup becomes tomorrow’s plastic surgery. Today’s loss of self will be tomorrow’s despair.
Horton, of course, finally notices Gertrude. However, it doesn’t happen until after she has ditched the new tail—a painful process—and returned to being herself. It’s the inner person—brave, selfless, giving—that wins the pachyderm’s passionate praise.
That’s the last thing I want to point out to you today. Horton sees the real Gertrude—it takes a little while, but he sees her—and he loves her. He’s not concerned with what she “lacks.” He’s not concerned with how she looks. He loves her heart.
Hear me, Daughter of My Heart. If you ever feel pressured to change who you are for the love of a man, then he is not the man for you. The man who tries to change you into someone else is not worth having. Bring him to me, and I will teach him to look at a person’s insides…starting with his own.
The man worth having will be looking for what is in your heart. He will see you as Christ sees you, and love you as Christ loves you. Find that man, and bring him to me…and I’ll let you know.