Every person sees a different facet of the world. Others see things which I cannot; and conversely, I see things others do not. Working as a vendor with Through All Ages LLC* allows me to see people in a way that customers are not able to.
Now in the merry month of May, Through All Ages was attending the annual Information Network for Christian Homes (abbreviated INCH) Convention. As I am the company president—actually the only employee at Through All Ages—I went to INCH.
When I arrived, I set up my booth and took stock of my neighbors. To my right was the end of an aisle and to my left was a well-known educational book supplier. It was staffed by three friendly ladies who spent most of their off-duty time chatting with each other. They were very friendly to me when we met.
Across the aisle, facing my booth, was an author who will be referred to as Mr. A. Next to him was an association to teach young children about God’s Word. Beyond them was another author, Miss B. Next to Miss B. were some of my friends, selling lotions and soaps. This was as far down the aisle as I could see, although there were other booths.
As the conference began, few people came through the vendor hall. Traffic was sporadic and the rest of my family were attending lectures. This left me plenty of time to think, to observe, and to read. Unfortunately, the book I had brought was busy supporting a display of products. Bother.
Now INCH is a two-day conference, and I arrived bright and early for the second day. Because I was a vendor, I could enter the vendor hall earlier than the shoppers. I scrutinized my booth, making certain it displayed my products in a visually appealing way. When I was satisfied, I sat down and waited for customers when the doors opened at 9:00 AM. With no customers inside, the vendor hall was quiet and any sound would carry a long way.
While I waited, Mr. A’s daughters entered the hall. He began barking at them because they had not arrived earlier. One of his daughters offered that her mother was overworked and unable to arrive sooner. After hearing this, Mr. A growled that if his messages had been followed, everything would have worked out smoothly.
In a few minutes, the vendor hall opened and everyone looked out eagerly for customers. No one was shopping for my paper soldiers, and as I glanced down the hall, I saw Mr. A asking a passerby if she had anyone interested in novels. He was smiling as though he was good-nature itself, and looked polite as she answered in the negative. I was repulsed—no, to be more accurate, I was sickened. Here was a man whom I had seen angrily barking at his daughters fifteen minutes earlier, now looking pleasant and gentlemanly to the customers. He was a man with two faces: one for his family and one for his customers. Yet I daresay that few of his customers ever suspected he had been berating his daughters not a quarter-hour earlier.
Now there was another author I watched: Miss B. She had no family at her booth; yet whenever I saw her in a lull between customers, she had a pleasant and amiable face. I talked with her and she seemed a kind lady. What a contrast between these two authors!
I came away from INCH thinking about what I had seen. How often are we kinder to strangers, whom we have not seen before, than to our families, who love us? I am not speaking from an ivory tower; I too am a fellow-struggler in this area. Hopefully this tale of two authors will cause us all to be kinder--both to our families and strangers.
“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”—1 John 4:20-21