By: Lyn Nelson
The first thing you see when looking at a book is the cover. Some covers may be composed of intricate designs, beautiful locations, pictures of your favorite characters. Images leaving you eager to dive into it’s page waiting for an amazing story to be told. Other covers may just be blank. Commonly this book may be perceived to be boring. If there’s nothing enticing about the cover, why would it be worth opening up.
Many of us have seemed to forget that growning up we have all repeatedly heard the phrase, “never judge a book by its cover.”
For some reason, (although our focus hasn’t been books) my service-learning experience has reminded me how important this concept is.
I have been reminded that our day to day interactions with various people are like walking through the aisles of a Barnes and Noble. People are like books, and they have stories to be shared.
When you see a woman sleeping on a roadside bench, bundled in blankets most people are quick to jump to conclusions that this person is poor, uneducated, and homeless. But being quick to assume these traits is the equivalent to looking at a blank cover and not believing that on the inside there is a beautiful story to be told.
If you had just opened up that cover, even to get a glimpse of the first page of the preface you would have realized that although this woman does turn out to be homeless, just last week she was the head of her own company, had graduated from a prestigious university, and was living in a contemporary 3 story house on the nice side of town. (Looks can be deceiving) When you meet this women questions arise of how someone who was originally so well off could have ended up living on the streets in just a matter of days. It happens more than we think folks.
We need to remember that every individual has a story to tell that has led them to where they are today. Whether they’re living in the most expensive apartment in New York City, living on the streets, attending university, or find them selves grabbing today’s lunch at the nearest soup kitchen. Whether an intricate design, or a plain monochromatic cover. We need to look past the “front cover” of these individuals and into their souls, where their plots thicken and their stories lie. I have learned through talking to locals in South Dakota, St. Louis, Mullens, and DC, that every individual has a important story to tell and every story they tell deserves to be heard.