guest post by Richard Bingman
When I was a high school senior, our newly appointed superintendent of schools first appeared. We expected him to be like the past school officials by being well groomed and wearing a business suit with white shirt and tie.
His wife had just attended a women’s luncheon and had remarked that “Beauty is not in the object itself, but it is in the eye of the beholder.” Then, when her husband appeared, we could see what she meant. He was tall and rugged in appearance and seemed to be the opposite of handsome. One woman remarked, ” I don’t know what she saw in him.” I compared him to Abraham Lincoln, who was very self conscious about his appearance.
Our superintendent didn’t seem to be self conscious about his appearance. He volunteered to participate in a play sponsored by the local library club to raise money to buy library books on Ozark Culture. He played the part of an Ozark hillbilly, and he took his role seriously. I had a part in the same play and I got to know him more as we rehearsed. I found him amusing as he told jokes in Ozark style and hopped across the stage, barefooted with a red swollen toe and carrying a jug of “white lightning.” Then, he told me that he hoped to get a job in the wheat harvest to keep himself “humble.” It was then that I realized that my concern about his outer appearance was fading into something much more significant.
I told my father about his request and he invited him, and he accepted, a job of “pitching” bundles of wheat on to the wagons to go the thrashing machine. The thrashing machine broke down, and this gave me more time to resume visiting with our superintendent and to introduce him to some of the farmers living in the school disrict.
I found him very interesting as he discussed his home life, and how it changed with the death of his father during the Depression. He said his mother took in “washings” to support the family. He said that she relied on the faith of God bringing her to this situation, and he would see her through it. He said this simple belief guided him through the coming years. To this, I responded with an “Amen.”
Then, he wanted to move the conversation to the students and parents. He said that more attention should be given to help students identify and reach their goals. He said he intended to create changes in the school operations to give parents more opportunities to participate in a positive manner. In doing so, they would invest more of their time and resources and get more satisfaction which would build up over the years. It would seem to me that this important principle of giving and receiving is very important.
At this point I was glad that I got to know more about what was really happening in his heart and in the feelings he expressed, rather judging him on his outer appearance. I did agree with his wife that beauty was internal, and we should make an effort to discover it. When we do so, we will be rewarded with a feeling of greater satisfaction as well as a process of thinking that will build in the future.
I maintained this principle of giving and receiving for many years and it was confirmed and reinforced in an interesting way. I participated in a workshop facilitated by Rev. Jen Hutchins of Unity Arts Ministry at Unity Spiritual Center, Springfield, Mo. We matched pictures(Arts) with our feelings(Soul) to get the best match. We posted it as a headliner. The other pictures we considered were also posted for future reference. As I have considered them more, I get an increasing sense of positive feeling and satisfaction. Through repeated attempts, I predict that my soul will expand in unlimited fashion. Perhaps, this is the beauty of this principle. It works in a complete and reliable way. I give thanks for the divine gifts I receive. John 17:10.
Author Bio: Dr. Richard Bingman is a member of the Springfield, Mo. Unity Spiritual Center. He has had a long professional interest and experience in creating programs and articles of an educational and spiritual nature. During the past ten years he has developed his style of blending bits of his life experience with spiritual principles to create a spiritual message.
About Our Featured Guests: Unity Arts Ministry is proud to provide an outlet for emerging artists from all walks of life and all creative disciplines. We encourage creative expression as a means for exploring spiritual themes and as spiritual practice.