Living and Growing: Looks can be deceiving

No one has ever accused me of being sporty. So when I walked out to the car to go cross-country skiing, looking a bit like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man, I was surprised by my husband’s reaction. The first question: “Are you really going to wear that?”

I am certain that I never grew beyond 13 years old because I gave him the exact same answer that I used to give my mom, “No, I’m just going to wear it into the middle of the street where I will strip down and change into something more acceptable.”

Sarcasm is always so helpful in relationships. So, he stopped asking questions and commented that I didn’t look very sporty.

It was 3 degrees outside — sporty was not on my mind. I wanted to be warm. The fact that my multiple puffy layers gave me extra bounce if I fell was a bonus. I don’t care what I look like, and I might be hot for the last 10 minutes, but at least I won’t be cold for the first 50.

But he was right, I didn’t look sporty — but looks can be deceiving. I can keep up with the best of them, even with 20 pounds of down surrounding me. No one is going to mistake me for a professional skier, but I am a faithful skier, and that should be worth something.

That’s what I try to carry over into my relationships with others and with God. Looks can be deceiving, and faithfulness is worth something.

I realized recently that I tend to dismiss good-looking folks. I gravitate toward those who have to depend more on personality to get by in life (hopefully none of my close friends will take this personally). Good-looking people always intimidate me a bit, probably because it makes me realize that my clothes don’t match and I forgot to brush my hair. I’ve been blessed throughout my ministry with spectacular conversations and friendships with all kinds of quirky folks who might be disregarded by others, but only recently have I learned to pay attention to those who look so together and lovely. They too have stories, hearts and personalities.

Looks can be deceiving. I know that is true not only with people, but also with my faith. We are preparing, in the Christian community, for the celebration of the Holy Triduum. These are the great three days where the world gets turned upside-down. On Maundy Thursday (April 17) we will gather to remember Jesus, the master, bending to wash his disciples’ feet and offering them a meal where he promises to be present with them. On Good Friday (April 18), we will remember the power of evil, hate and brutality when we tell the story of Jesus on the cross. And on Easter (April 20), we will sing of hope in the midst of despair, life in the midst of death.

We will remind one another that looks can be deceiving. There may be times that feel dark and despairing, but we believe that God is present, even in those times, working new life and hope. So, just like my skiing, I keep at it. When I fail and look like a fool, I keep risking and practicing. When I doubt or despair, I keep going through the motions and God has remained faithful to me. When people who are sporty and have it together pass me and sneer, I try to respond like my 13-year-old self, only on the inside and smile and remind myself that looks can be deceiving.

• Tari Stage-Harvey is pastor of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church.


Mon, 02/27/2017 - 08:39

Communications scholarship open

Alaska Professional Communicators are offering two $1,000 scholarships for students planning a career in communications and majoring in any phase of public communications, including public relations, advertising, radio-television, video and print.

Read more
Mon, 02/27/2017 - 08:39

Thank you from Big Brothers Big Sisters

Thanks to the City and Borough of Juneau tax revenue and the CBJ Activities Grant, five big and little matches in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program enjoyed an afternoon of free skating at the Treadwell Ice Arena!

Read more
Mon, 02/27/2017 - 08:38

Thank you from the American Red Cross of Alaska

On Feb. 17, 2017 we celebrated our 100-year anniversary as the American Red Cross of Alaska. It was very important to us to kick-off the year in Juneau as the original Red Cross of Alaska Charter was in Juneau. We are so happy we did! We have so many people to thank for making the evening not only fun, but heart-warming as well. We first have to thank the volunteers that worked so hard. Thank you to Buddy Custard, board member extraordinaire, for all of your guidance, humor, and hard work. Thank you Teresa Maria Abella for asking Senator Egan to be our Honorary Chair, for plastering the town with posters, for your fundraising efforts, your excitement, your photography, and just in general for being such a blessing to the Red Cross team. Senator Egan and Jesse Keihl, what can we say? You were amazing and helpful and patient. I will miss our meetings and the laughter that always ensued. We would be very remiss if we did not thank Governor Walker for giving us your time and for sharing your Red Cross story. Your commitment and support are deeply appreciated and we were touched beyond measure by your decision to attend and speak at our celebration. Lt. Governor Mallott and Mrs. Mallott, thank you for attending and supporting our mission. You bring such a sense of calm and grace wherever you go, we are humbled that you shared that with us. Last, but most definitely not least, we must thank all of our volunteers. The American Red Cross is a volunteer-run organization with only 14 staff for the entire state of Alaska. We could not help the hundreds of Alaskans that we do without volunteers. Our volunteers are the ones that get up at 2 a.m. when we receive a call about a house fire. They leave their homes and families to help others if there is a large disaster either in Alaska or in some other part of the country. I have said it many times, and will continue to say it: Red Cross volunteers are the best in the world. They are selfless, kind, generous people who only want to help. For this celebration there are a few in particular we need to thank: Karen Petersen, Peter Chaille, June Johnson, Joyce Levine, Michelle Brown, Carolyn and Dan Garcia, Chip Wagoner, Rebecca Trude, Rick Janelle, Patricia and Kyle Lamson, Bob Bassett, and T Iputi! Thank you Juneau and Southeast Alaska for supporting the American Red Cross of Alaska’s first 100 years; we look forward to the next 100!

Read more
Mon, 02/27/2017 - 08:38

Planetarium presents ‘Aurora’

The Marie Drake Planetarium will present “Aurora” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, followed by “The Sky Tonight” on the Spitz projector. The event is free and for all ages.

Read more


  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback