A few days before I learned my son Cole had a brain tumor, I took him to the ER because he was in need of hydration due to incessant vomiting (obviously a few days later we learned why!). And though he had been throwing up most of the night and was white as a sheet, the nurse attending to him could not get over his t-shirt. Knowing Cole, he probably threw something clean on to wear to the hospital without giving much thought to the character of the garment. It happened to be a “band t-shirt”, and the band happened to be ‘Suicidal Tendencies’. Honestly, I didn’t notice his clothes at all. I was slightly irritated to be in the ER because I seem to be the ER specialist of the family and quite frankly I just wanted to be at home. Therefore his clothing choice was an irrelevant fact until the RN began to lecture Cole about the literal meaning of the band name (though if my memory serves me correctly, she was ignorant to it being a band), and felt it insensitive toward people struggling with thoughts of suicide.
Why bring up this little story? Because it reminds me that what we see on the outside is not always as it is on the inside. Oh heck, I’ll keep it personal…I will use the “I” instead of the “we”–what I see on the outside…
I am reminded that what I see outwardly (on or of a person), is not necessarily the true story at hand. Just as above, the nurse knew nothing of Cole having a hemorrhaging and malignant brain tumor which was on the brink of changing the course of his life forever. All she “knew” came from what she saw. And what she saw was the ‘Suicidal Tendencies’ t-shirt. Well I have to confess, after her diatribe I was slightly embarrassed, as his mother, at the inconsiderate suggestion she had now pointed out. Embarrassed because I hadn’t considered the band name in the literal, for I knew it as a musical ensemble–if you can call the young (well not so young anymore) lads “musical”. Anyway, I was embarrassed but at the same time irritated that she was lecturing my sick child. I suppose you could say it was a ‘No Win’ situation, for she was judging Cole by his t-shirt and I was judging her for her condescension.
Bottom line…the old adage “you can’t judge a book by its cover” rings true! And with that sentiment in tow, Cole looks healthy on the outside yet his insides are problematic. So much so that him being at the camp in Oregon did not work out. And with, yet another trip to an ER, he ended up coming home early–without having stepped foot upon the river in which he had hoped to navigate via kayak. And now the mystery of his internal affairs has got him quite down. No, he isn’t presently walking about with his ‘Suicidal Tendencies’ shirt on. Although its message is probably more fitting to the time and might no longer provoke the angst of an attending nurse.