Shallow Hal is one of my all-time favorite movies. Tony Robbins puts a whammy on Jack Black (Hal), and from then on, Hal sees only the inner truth of a person. He sees a supermodel as hideously ugly because she’s not a nice person on the inside, and he sees extremely unattractive women (by society’s judgmental standards) as gorgeous because they are wonderful people on the inside. Today, I decided to play my own version of the Shallow Hal game at Walmart.

I don’t care whether people are considered attractive or unattractive, but I think the distinction what we see in people and what they really are is profound. We see fat, thin, bald, tall, short, dumpy, svelte, gorgeous, ugly, and so on. That has nothing to do with what’s on the inside. If our body is the temple of our spirit, what’s on the inside is light and intelligence, i.e., our eternal spirit.

When I say I played the Shallow Hal game at Walmart, I mean I meant to play it. But I forgot because I am so accustomed to relating to the outer body. Instead I found myself annoyed with the cashier who took forever, and taken aback by the two muslim employees in headscarves who were stocking shelves together. (Headscarves? In a Walmart in Layton, Utah? The next thing you know, Utah will be going full cosmopolitan.)

I informed an employee that I had accidentally dropped a bottle of cleaning solution and there was a puddle on aisle whatever. Then I saw her 30 seconds later nowhere near the spill and yucking it up with a co-worker. I tsk-tsk-tsk’ed at her lack of concern over the safety hazard.

I watched two men shopping together and wondered if they were gay because you don’t often see two straight men shopping together. I confess I watched the sassy wiggle of the one pushing the cart and decided I was right. I tried a sassy wiggle on to see what it would feel like, but it felt out of place with my paint-spattered sweats, my husband’s sweatshirt, and a cap that said “Fear No Evil – Springfield Armory.”

I observed a father and what I assume were his two sons, about 14 and 11, in line ahead of me. I decided he was a divorced dad and had the kids this weekend. (I like to make up stories about strangers for my own amusement).

In each case, I was seeing (not seeing) an immortal spirit clothed in mortality. I’m going to try harder tomorrow to see people the way they really are.

But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. Samuel 16:7

photo credit: jjbers Walmart (Manchester, Connecticut) via photopin (license)

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