Appearances are important but not that important. We can’t help coming to conclusions about people based on appearances but realize we are often proven wrong as we get to know the individual.
On October 15, 1860, eleven-year-old Grace Bedell wrote to the Republican candidate and future U.S. president, Abraham Lincoln. She had an idea. She put it in these words,
“I have got 4 brothers and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be president.”
Four days later she received this response from Lincoln,
“As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affection if I were to begin it now?”1
In May 1954 C. S. Lewis received a letter from a fifth grade class in Maryland. They had questions about his Narnia series. Do the characters Reepicheep and Nick-a-brick represent anyone? They also wanted to know what Mr. Lewis looks like. He tells them,
“I’m tall, fat, rather bald, red-faced, double-chinned, black-haired, have a deep voice, and wear glasses for reading.”2
By the PR standards of today neither man would stand much of a chance of becoming well known. Appearances are important but not that important.
“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.’” – 1 Samuel 16:7.
- Shaun Usher, Letters of Note: an Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience (San Francisco, Chronicle Books LLC, 2014), 205-208.
- Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, Vol. III (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), 480.