The way we look

And how does the new year look to you?

Some things don’t change. Looks matter, that is why beauty sells. And why presenting reliable physical evidence is critical to a crime conviction. To see is to believe. To demand colorblindness is actually against nature. Just ask the peacock. A beautifully wrapped gift never fails to delight. Looks tell a lot, not just your age, but your preference, lifestyle, emotional state, personality, your past, even religion and capability. When you are lost in a crowd, which stranger would you approach to ask for directions? So it seems, to an extent, we still judge a book by its cover, or by instinct, depending on the situation. Are we now supposed to judge based on appearance, gender or color? Fishermen look at the clouds before heading out to the water. Yet, we also know that “looks” alone could be complicated for we may not read the weather well. So, jewelers use tools to examine a stone that looks like a diamond. And living things, like humans, are definitely more complicated than that.

Take for example a living insect–probably, one of the most avoided group. We prepare for their arrival with sticky traps and question their existence since past experiences tell us, we know better not to. We wonder why would God create ___ [insert name the insect that you detest the most]. Wonder no more as we take a look at the ant.

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God has a purpose beyond what we can see. “Go to the ant, observe her ways and be wise.” Proverbs 6:6

Way before the Ant-Man, ants were already singled out in the Bible. Maybe God has humor? More than that, God puts their greater significance inside. Despite their look, they are not junkies, but works of art, with surprising wisdom and abilities. I’d say, their existence humbles us. The Bible says learn from the ants. They “are creatures with little strength, but they prepare their food in the summer.” Shrewd ants are in charge! There’s 20 quadrillion of them on earth. They’re not going away anytime soon though they face stiff competition with creatures zillion times bigger.

In short, it is best to hone your ability to discern by taking the time to examine what is inside a package, or a person, no matter what the wrapping looks like. Some problems look daunting until you take it apart. Some attractive people disappoint the closer you get to them. It is like feeling let down once you untie the bow to find the ring inside the box is plated gold. And there are people who look ordinary but fascinate the more you see inside, just like the ants. I am not saying we should either care more or less how we look. Looks can be significant but only according to the substance it holds. It is better to spend more time on one’s inner natural qualities, than on masking it, don’t you think? The truth is, given time, inner qualities get expressed in one’s whole being.

Small step: Still afraid you’d drop dead like flies because you lack something in your look? You don’t even need surgery to feel at home in your body, but a simple choice of changing where to put the emphasis, where you “look” for significance. And maybe, there’s more to learn from the unassuming ant.