Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ugli Fruit .... looks can be so deceiving...

At my high school, there was a guy in my class who was both physically and mentally challenged.  My graduating class was small - about 25 of us - and we were all good friends with no real cliques in the group.  Everyone liked him, and he was about as nice a guy as there could be, who tried not to allow himself to be limited by the disease he was born with.

Near the end of Senior year, we had a banquet for the Juniors and Seniors (a Christian school's version of prom).  He asked if I would go with him...  which was the first time in my 17 years anyone had asked me out.  I felt torn - on the one hand, I wanted to say yes to avoid hurting his feelings, but on the other hand, I had an idealized, romantic vision of what my first date would be like.  In my young mind, I somehow thought that a first date with him, or anyone other than the guy I really wanted to go out with, but who I knew would never ask me, would plummet my already less-than-popular status.  And so I said no, and my best friend and I went together, which of course is second best to going with the perfect guy, and maybe even better since most high school guys are far from perfect!

As it turns out, now I don't even remember my first "real" date, who it was with, or when it was, which goes to show that it was still far from whatever fantasy I had imagined.  As life usually is.

Most kids worry about being popular, and are so horribly judgmental of each other.  I think I'm lucky that when I was in high school, no one had cell phones, Internet, Facebook, YouTube, or any other methods of social media by which to judge popularity status, and I wonder what I'll be in for by the time I have kids that age!  I hope that I can teach my kids someday to make choices that are kind and selfless, not to judge others by how popular, attractive or athletic they are, but to be able to find beauty and friendship all around them.

While grocery shopping today, Jamie and I saw the strangest looking fruit called "Ugli" fruit, also known as a Jamaican Tangelo, a wild hybrid of grapefruit, orange and tangerine.  The guy stocking the fruit asked if we wanted to taste it and was nice enough to cut one open for us to try.  To my surprise, it was absolutely delicious - citrusy, sweet and very juicy - so we brought one home to share.

Just as the Ugli fruit surprised me today with it's pebbly, thick peel but beautiful orange fruit inside, I hope to always keep my mind open to the beauty around me.

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