How many times have you heard that saying? If you’ve heard it half as much as I have, you’ve heard it a lot! And I do mean a lot! But how many times have you had the opportunity to head this colloquialism and found yourself better for it?
Not often do I notice a pattern or theme in my life, but when I do, I find a sort of spiritual awakening and renewing by taking the time to reflect on the theme and allow it to soak in and water my spirit. The title of this article, Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover, revealed itself as the theme for this weekend through three events or occurrences; Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges in the killing of Trayvon Martin, I hung out with the Mongols at their event in Palm Springs, and pastor preached about loving one another, as one of the pillars to Christian living in today’s world. Indulge me, if you will, as I share this theme and how these three occurrences have each had an impact on my spirit.
“I don’t think anyone at all would mind if you joined the party,” he answered. That being established, we entered the pool area, found a seat off by ourselves and sat down to begin soaking up the atmosphere. There was a DJ spinning everything from rock, to hip-hop, to rap. People were milling about, talking, laughing, and having a great time. My friend and I danced in our seats, laughed, joked, and pretty much kept to ourselves.
At midnight, the music ended, and we decided that we weren’t ready to leave. Being thirsty, we headed to the bar and grab a drink to sip in our lounge chairs. As usual, I had my friend in stitches laughing so hard at something that happened the last time we hung out. Two ladies approached us, and we all started chatting and laughing together. Having our drinks in a to-go cup, we were about ready to leave but our new friends were having so much fun with us they invited us to stay and hang out with them a little longer. One of these wonderful women is married to a charter member of the Mongols. We all exchanged names and began getting to know one another. We found ourselves hanging out at the pool, chatting, meeting new people, and having a wonderful time until 1:30 in the morning!
We were having so much fun together that they invited my friend and I to return to hang out with them again the next day. We did. Saturday evening they were having a social gathering in one of the ballrooms of the Hyatt with a live band. What fun! After the gathering in the ballroom concluded, we again went down to the pool area, sat in lounge chairs, some of us, myself included, sat on the edge of the pool with our feet in the water. It was during this time that I really got to know the wonderful people I was gathering with. I’ll keep their names private because that’s how I roll. But here’s a look into the chapter of the book that many might not have discovered had they been judging the book only by its cover.
One of my new female friends asked me, “What’s the matter? You’re not laughing and talking as much as you were last night?” Very observant, this wonderful woman is.
Her husband, Mister Charter Member (let’s call him CM), being very insightful said, “Nothing’s wrong. She’s just soaking it all in.” And yes, he was precisely correct. I love people and cultural. I live to learn about new things, new people. I desire unity of mind and spirit which comes from learning about people, learning about them as they stand as individuals and learning about them as members of their culture. I was experiencing a sort of awe struck stardom as I began to soak in the whirling culture around me.
After a little more time had passed, CM asked me, “Have you seen us on Gangland?”
“Yes,” I answered.
“Did you know it was us here when you came to hang out?”
Again I answered, “Yes.”
“And you still came in?” he reached his hand out to give me daps, “Much respect.”
“Yes,” I replied. “Why not?”
“I don’t judge a book by its cover,” was my response. “I evaluate everyone on and individual basis. And to be honest, everyone I have met here these past two evening have been nothing but welcoming, kind, and respectful.”
Every door I had approached was opened before I got there, if there was a member or prospect standing near where I was walking. All night I was asked, “Can I get you anything? You alright? Do you need anything?” I can’t remember ever being treated with such respect and chivalry. I can’t say enough kind words about everyone I met over this weekend.
CM’s wife’s shoe broke. The button which fastened her sandal on to her feet had popped off. While sitting in the lounge chair and having the above referenced conversation with me, he sewed the button back on to his wife’s shoe. I don’t know many men who would do that for their wives. Do you?
But that was not the end of our conversation. “People have the wrong impression about us. We don’t start trouble. We’re just like everyone else. We have jobs, families, homes. But best believe, if trouble comes to us, we’re gonna take care of it to our better. But we don’t start it.” I can certainly identify with what he was saying. We spoke about the brotherhood of their organization, the respect they have for one another and their fallen members.
The point I’m making is, had I been judging a book by its cover, I would have missed out on the opportunity to meet and get to know these wonderful people who have extended to me every kindness. I am blessed to have met them and I look forward to growing our friendship and seeing each other again. I can’t wait until they come back to town in October for Bike Week!
Some cynics may say that perhaps they were just acting nice because they wanted some positive publicity from me. No, that’s certainly not the case. I had not decided to write the article until Sunday morning, when the third occurrence took place.
Stay tuned for Part III
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