Hearing Dog Marshall had his first bus ride with me this week. The driver initially questioned his presence, but as soon as I pointed to his ‘Hearing Dog’ jacket, he was welcomed aboard!
What we wear says a lot about ourselves. Uniforms are obvious examples. They allow us to identify someone’s job and their position. When I was a student nurse our caps had one, two or three stripes denoting how many years training were under our belts!
Mufti isn’t a word commonly used nowadays, but what we wear off-duty can communicate a lot too. We use clothes to reflect our personality, or present the image we would like others to see.
As a deaf person I look for information in someone’s appearance. It gives me clues about what might be important to the person, and what interests they might have. What do they look like they’ve just been doing, where might they be going to, what stage of life may they be at, and so what kind of things might they start talking about? It enables me to prepare myself for a conversation and attune to words they may use. Being deaf requires the rapid processing of visual information…
However, there is a danger, and that’s making misassumptions. I guess we all make rapid evaluations of people, but it can be easy to get it wrong. Hence
‘never judge a book by its cover’
Truth is, regrettably I have done this. The tough looking guy who looked anything but a gentle giant, the marathon runner who looked like they’d find a stroll in the park tough going, the graduate who without mortarboard and gown, took me by surprise. Whoops, whoops and whoops.
It reminds me to hold lightly to first impressions, and to spot the difference between outer appearances and inner qualities, and to look for the gems within everyone.
Yes, what we wear says a lot about us, but it’s never the whole story. So no more jumping to conclusions, and mistaken identities…
Truth is… If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives.
2 Corinthians 4:6-7