Love the Underdog


Love the Underdog | Cynthia Herron

It’s a pleasure to share this post, filled with poignant stories that hit me where I live! My friend and fellow author Cynthia Herron writes “Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction” that has garnered multiple American Christian Fiction Writers’ awards. I’m excited to read her debut novel, Her Hope Discovered, when it releases from Mountain Brook Ink in January! Congratulations, Cynthia, and thank you for this warm and memorable post.

Cynthia Herron | Love the Underdog

Cynthia Herron

A Guest Post by Cynthia Herron

I feel things deeply. Perhaps that’s why I’m a writer.

I adore gallantry and old-fashioned romance. I love God, country, and tradition.

I cheer for the underdog. Suffering in any form disturbs me. I want to help because I’m a doer.

In junior high school, I once had a teacher refer to me as “an old soul” after I gave my opinion on slavery in America.

“It was tolerated because of apathy, not ignorance. People were too self-absorbed to do the humane thing. They didn’t want to analyze why slavery was wrong. That would have shattered their glass houses.”

My teacher nodded, surprised. I didn’t think my comment was all that profound. It never crossed my mind that others might not think the same way.

Receiving the Underdog Treatment

Recently, something made me recall an incident when I felt like the underdog. Certainly minute in comparison to the more significant issues in the world, but it did leave an impression.

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 KJV)

Many years ago, I visited a popular, upscale department store in search of the perfect birthday gift for my mother. As I strolled past the shiny glass display cases in the fine jewelry area, a beautiful, gold necklace caught my eye. The chain was fine and delicate, as was the small cross that dangled free.

That’s it! Mama will love it! I stood there considering my possible purchase.

A tall, attractive sales clerk wandered up beside me, her smile friendly, but her eyes aloof. “May I help you?”

“Yes, ma’am.” I returned her smile. “I’d like to see that necklace, please.”

The sales clerk continued to stare, but she remained silent.

Maybe she didn’t hear me. I directed her attention to the correct display case.

“It’s that one. The gold one with the crucifix.”

“Oh.”  The woman’s perfectly plucked eyebrows shot up. “My dear, what you want would be over there.”

She draped an arm over my shoulder and pointed across the aisle—to the costume jewelry rack.

Now, it’s not often I’m rendered speechless, but that day just for a moment, words failed me.

What in the world?

I wore jeans, a blouse, and a blazer and I had money to spend, but the sales clerk had drawn a very obvious conclusion. She didn’t think I could afford the purchase!

My throat tightened. I counted to ten. A scripture ran through my mind.

Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. (Colossians 4:6 KJV)

In all fairness, my clothing was a little rumpled. My hair, a little unkempt. I’m sure dark circles ringed my eyes and I’m certain my coloring was off.

I could have told the well-meaning sales clerk that my son was lying in the hospital where he’d been a critical care patient for the past week. (You can read more about our journey, and how we found Hope in the Hard Stuff, here and here.) I could have shared that was the first day I’d felt comfortable enough to leave his side for more than just a few moments.

I could have also related that she’d just lost a sale, her commission from that sale, and that her behavior disappointed me. But I didn’t.

Instead, I stepped back and searched for the right words. “No, thank you. What I wanted was right here—in this display case.”

I wasn’t ugly or rude about it. I later purchased another necklace at a competitor’s store, but I remembered a lesson from that day. Never ever judge a book by its cover. As cliché as it sounds, we rarely know the full story until we delve a little further.

Love the Underdog | Cynthia Herron

The Way the Cookie Crumbles?

That long-ago memory surfaced again one day as I watched a proud mother of two ask the supermarket checker a question about her food stamp coupons.

“I’m gonna have to get the manager to ring this purchase up.” The checker blew out a sigh. “Sorry, but I don’t think you can use these…uh…food stamp thingies for some of this stuff.”

“I know.” The mother’s whisper was barely audible. “That’s why I brought cash, too.”

Oh, my heart.

I wanted to just love that mama right up! The tiny family spoke to the nurturer in me.

The checker fingered some of the items on the counter. “Okay. But we still have to wait on him to ring you up. Just the way the cookie crumbles.”

The way the cookie crumbles. Really?

How insensitive!

The woman fiddled with her car keys and patted her toddler’s curls. “I understand.”

But I didn’t. And I wanted to say something. I wanted to lighten the moment—let the mother know someone stood in her corner.

“A girl and a boy—a perfect combination. Your children are beautiful.” I smiled at the trio. “Such pretty eyes.”

“Thanks. They look just like their dad. He died last year—he had cancer.”

The checker’s head snapped up. “I…uh…oh. I’m sorry.”

I really think she was.

Another instance that cemented my thinking—the notion that regardless if we think we know the whole story, we should never presume.

The outer snapshot doesn’t always give a complete visual.

Just some food for thought.

Now, go love an underdog—and cheer that person on with your entire heart!

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minster grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29 KJV)

For more encouragement, check out these thoughts: 7 Reasons to Love What You Do

Cynthia writes Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains. A hopeless romantic at heart, she enjoys penning stories about ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances. Her Hope Discovered, her début novel and the first in a three-book series, releases January 2019 with Mountain Brook Ink.

Besides writing, Cindy enjoys spending time with family and friends. She has a fondness for gingerbread men, miniature teapots, and all things apple. She also adores a great cup of coffee and she never met a sticky note she didn’t like. Cindy loves to connect with friends at her online home. She also hangs out on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. For love, fun, and encouragement ~

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  1. Oh, my! Cindy, you bring touching examples of these truths….don’t presume to know another’s circumstances and don’t judge by outward appearances. Sharing your experiences gives a strong way to remember to think before reacting to different situations. Thank you!

    • Sherida, you know everyone has a story. Sometimes, God has a way of allowing us to experience things through others’ eyes, and it makes us all the more compassionate. Thank you for stopping by!

  2. Terri Weldon says:

    Cynthia, I needed this post today. I’m so thankful you were there to offer that young mother a word of encouragement. My oldest sister had to use food stamps when her husband divorced her and she was ill. It’s so wrong how people treat them. I think you made a lasting impact on the checker.

    Now the jewelry lady, good thing I wasn’t shopping with you. You would have had to sit on me and quoted Ephesians 4:29. I admire you, my friend.

    • Terri, we never really know what’s behind the facades people wear. Until we’ve walked in their shoes and lived their lives, we can’t possibly understand the depth and breadth of their heartache. I will always, always cheer on and love the underdog.

      Thank you so much for chiming in!

  3. Thoughtful post, Cynthia, and wonderful reminders for us – – we just never know what’s really going on in a person’s life, and we should never make presumptions. I’m sure your kind words in the store brightened that mother’s day. And you handled that aloof salesperson in the upscale department store with grace—many people would’ve snapped at her! Great examples of living our Christian walk in everyday situations—thank you for sharing. 🙂

    • Patti Jo, there are so many countless opportunities we can touch others’ lives for the good. Kindness and empathy far outweigh criticism and rudeness.

      Thank you, friend, for your comment!

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