The ear piercing scream of complete terror filled the small room and shook me to my bones. Our team was in Uganda and had just finished a tour of a women’s training center when I spotted the cutest baby across the room. He had it all -- big beautiful eyes, perfectly plump cheeks and an aura of joy that can only come from a child. I’m not usually a baby person, but this little one captured my heart. So I walked to the other side of the room, kneeled down and reached out my hand. That is when it happened….
The sweet little one looked at me and at that moment I saw something I had never seen in the eyes of a child - complete and utter fear, quickly followed by a heart-wrenching cry of sheer panic. My heart stopped and I began to cry at the realization that I was the source of this child’s pain. I wanted so badly to reach out and comfort him but I knew I couldn’t. As a result, I wanted to run and hide, but the barren room left few options. So instead, I gently smiled and apologized while the mother rushed over to pick up and console her traumatized infant.
That night over dinner we talked about "the scream" and one of our hosts said, “Well, you do look like vampires.” Wow, that was a truth I had never considered. I am used to my freckles being a curiosity for children around the world. I have grown accustomed to children and adults sitting near me tentatively touching the millions of spots that cover nearly every inch of my body and looking confused. But for the first time, I realized that my natural self was actually terrifying (I don’t like to wear makeup that much and at that time I rarely used it, especially on mission). Not to mention that I suffer from a bad case of RBF (Resting B!*#ch Face) and was wearing my missionary uniform of a t-shirt and long skirt.
I never thought of myself as scary before that moment when the baby cried, but it really does make perfect sense. The truth is that we are all a little creepy depending on the time, situation or culture. Bob Goff in his book Everybody Always says:
“What Jesus told his friends can be summed up in this way: He wants us to love everybody, always — and start with the people who creep us out. The truth is we probably creep them out as much as they do us.”
The Ugandans love me well despite my “creepiness.” They inspire me to love like they do, wear mascara, a little bronzer and tinted chapstick to decrease the vampire effect. Sad to say there isn’t much I can do about the RBF and really I just love wearing the long skirts — I can’t imagine using a squatty potty in jeans.
I am looking forward to finishing Bob Goff’s latest book and pushing into becoming LOVE. As he says; "Jesus never said doing these things would be easy. He just said it would work.”