She walked into the room, and every head turned. Except hers: she had no neck. – Steve Martin
Sometimes, walking into a room leads to undesirable results.
One day, a woman walked into a room filled with a lot of people, and she immediately backed out, in inner horror, when someone in the room—we’ll call him Tyler—came into her view.
She was not required by proximity to breathe the same air as Tyler; she wasn’t that close. Still, she began to experience asphyxiation. If only others knew. . . . In that moment, there was no bitter judgment of Tyler in her heart, yet there was a knowledge that spoke strongly, with conviction, “No. I know too much. I need to get out.”
Every thought, every emotion told her not to be in the same place as Tyler. Her willingness to subject herself to negative emotions only went so far.
So she left.
On many occasions, when a different woman walked into a room filled with a lot of people, she was immediately recognized as being the daughter of her mother, who used to walk into that same room. People commented on how much the woman—we’ll call her “Martha”—looked and sounded like her mother—more so than her two older sisters or her two older brothers. Mother and daughter had similar stature and face shapes. One’s voice had a different accent, but the timbres were similar. Both of them enjoyed admiration.
Each one of these women was known for looking lovingly into other people’s eyes, expressing care and interest. Yet there were aspects of Martha that did not quite resemble the mother, and a few people noticed it. No one wished to judge the daughter negatively, and no egregious issues were present in this case, yet there was an unmistakable impression that Martha was not, in fact, her revered mother.
Martha did not quite measure up; the resemblance only went so far. People didn’t actually leave the room after entering; they just weren’t as captivated with Martha as they had been with her mother.
One evening, a man walked into a room filled with a lot of people, and he hoped a certain someone—we’ll call him Philip—was not there. When Philip did come into view, the man felt no inner horror, but he surely was disappointed on a visceral level.
The man decided to stay for a while, and he tried to engage with others in the room. But when Philip began to speak, the man was overcome with distaste. If only others knew. . . . He himself knew of behaviors and private words that, when combined with the Philip’s in-that-moment words, made dissonant sounds. Philip, quite simply, did not measure up.
The man gave no ultimate judgment on Philip in his heart, yet the former was unable to hear anything said from that point forward, because he knew.
There were a few mixed feelings, but the preponderance told him not to be in the same room as Philip too long. He began to experience shortness of breath, spiritually speaking. He regretted walking into the room, and his willingness to stay there only went so far.
So he left.
When people look inside my life, I want to hear them say,
“She’s got her father’s eyes, her father’s eyes” —
Eyes that find the good in things, when good is not around
Eyes that find the source of help, when help just can’t be found
Eyes full of compassion. . . .
Excerpt from “My Father’s Eyes”
Words and Music by Gary Chapman, © Universal Music Publishing Group