Sometimes you can sense when a person is genuine.
Maybe it’s a gleam in the eye, a kind smile or welcoming body language — but for me, sensing a person’s sincerity is often linked to a feeling.
Genuine people have warmth and exude trust. Or, as is is fondly said, they have noor in their face — where the light of their goodness shines for all to see.
Last week we attended a birthday party, where a talented clown entertained and delighted most of the children. Eryn laughed at every pun and hasn’t stopped talking about the amazing unicycle trick. But Ivy was less impressed — and I eventually had to take her outside for a walk because she started crying inconsolably and wanted to go home. Which I can totally respect.
Because, you know. Clowns.
While we were taking a quick turn around the block in the lovely spring weather, a gentleman sauntered up next to us.
Hey! That’s my baby!”
I glanced to the side to see he was carrying a broken tree branch in one hand and a plastic bag in the other. As I looked up, I saw his rheumy black eyes, tinged with blue, ripening cataracts sparkling in the sun. He had a gap between his front teeth when he smiled. My girls have the same gap.
Normally, I suppose that if anyone would say, “Hey that’s my baby!” to me, I’d become excessively protective, avoid conversation and possibly eye contact. But I wouldn’t really know how I would act, since no one has ever said that to me before.
But there was something about the tone in his voice that gave me instant trust of his character. So I shot back:
She’s cute enough to be your baby!
He laughed jovially and we stopped to chat.
That’s when he told me that we should all be like the little children.
Like genuine people, young children have innocence and an innate source of noor about them. Even when they are mischievous or outright naughty, they approach their world with absolute trust. They believe in the unseen and in the infinite realm of the possible. They are good, even when they are bad. It’s only perhaps when children grow to really know the differences between right and wrong and choose the wrong; or when they experience the taint that comes from the misguided intentions of others; or when they are taken advantage of, that their noor dims.
He spoke at length about how God tells us to be like the little children. How in the book of Matthew, Jesus tells the disciples that whoever takes the lowly, innocent position of a child will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. When I responded that it must have taken a lot of humility on the part of the disciples to hear this simple but beautiful message, the man started to cry.
The Qur’an also speaks about the importance of goodness and humility — that those who humble themselves and do righteous deeds will enter paradise. And the often quoted verse that those who believe, are truthful and obedient, are humble and patient, and who are charitable toward others will be granted forgiveness and a divine reward.
We shook hands and he thanked me for taking the time to speak with him. Not everyone stops to chat. And he left by saying God brings believers together to witness truth, and that believers know each other regardless of their station in life.