Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Gift from Paul Bunyan

While waiting for a light to change at the busiest intersection of my town, I observed a large man with long unruly hair, a flannel shirt, boots and the kind of jeans one would wear for hard work....not for fashion, walk past my car. My first thought was that he resembled Paul Bunyan. He appeared to be the epitome of rough and tough, both around the edges and through and through.

My quick judgment of this stranger changed, however, when I noticed he was carrying a small gift bag. It was a delicate looking bag with a pretty decoration on the handle and a raffia bow holding it in place. It seemed so out of place for a massive, rugged man like this to be carrying. Since my light did not yet turn green, I had some time to reflect on the lesson my Paul Bunyan look alike was teaching me.

Where I could have continued my judgment about my Bunyan stranger, being a hard, tough and insensitive creature from the woods, I decided to make up a new story about him. I decided, the gift was for his wife. It was small since he didn't have much money to spend on anything expensive and extravagant. I also decided he delighted in picking out just the right thing that will surprise and move Paula (his wife) deeply on Christmas morning.

I soon exchanged my negative opinion for one of respect for my Paul Bunyan and was grateful that I caught myself making an unfair judgment of someone I didn't know anything about. Yes, I also didn't know who the gift he carried was for since I made that up too, but the truth is it didn't matter since Paul Bunyan actually gave me a gift. The gift was a reminder to not judge by appearances and to expect the best from every one I meet or even just see walk by.

What a perfect Christmas gift for me. Too bad, Paul Bunyan will never know how much I appreciated it.

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