Charm, as described by Webster, is the most pleasing of characteristics. And when well contaminated, possibly, it is a pseudo characteristic that can be used to deceive and manipulate.
And if you search charming humans on Google, the web is quick to point you to all the beautiful people. The rich and famous dominate the ranks of charming.
It is odd, if you think about it, that the definition airs on the side of a personal quality, yet we often attribute it to looks, money, and power. We women, as little girls were lead to believe that charm coexisted with a handsome prince, flowing gowns, magic, first kisses, and moonlit ballrooms, Had the fairy tales played out, and the Prince met with an industrial accident and bankruptcy, would he still be labeled charming?
I recall the first time I laid eyes on Justin, my husband of 27 years.
Justin was dusty from plowing, donning worn Wranglers and a snap-button work shirt. He had a mustache and thick, dark, curly hair. Actually, he still does, but his curls have salted with age. He stepped out onto the wrap-around porch of his parent’s farmhouse, the sky above the roof was alive with pinks, purples, and oranges, as the sun sank low for the day.
Justin’s cousin, my best friend, Lisa, had been encouraged to take me to the farm, by Justin’s mom, Iris, and Lisa’s mom, Iris’ twin sister so Justin could, and I quote, “look at me.”
At first, I was dumbfounded by the handsome cousin. Then, he waved and flashed a smile and I sank in my seat. We climbed out of the car and Lisa said, “Hey!” And Justin said, “Hey there! Who’s your friend?” It was one of those moments that I remember as if I knew it would be important.
I will deflect the dreaminess of the moment by recounting the less than “Rico Suave,” words that Justin repeated to me many, many times, “Wow. You’re tall. And blonde. Wow, you’re tan. And tall… and blonde.”
He is not a fan of that story. Speechless might have been better, but I was entirely smitten with the man-child, who had closely followed his mother’s orders and gawked at me.
I am certain I have loved him ever since.
He was by all accounts quite charming.
And he called me “punkin” and “blondie.” On our first date, he opened the door of his early 80’s model pickup and I climbed in on the passenger side. Then halfway through the evening he pushed his Wildlife Research Scent Killer and Range management charts and graphs to the floorboard and said, “you should scooch on over punkin.”
I scooched, and was further undone by a whole new wave of charm.
And I suppose many women would not find this the most charming of stories. Perhaps you are more motivated by Calvin Klein cologne and penny loafers. But charm to me was and is, Justin.
So as my podcast partner, Rebecca Huff and I decided on Charm School for the fifth season of our Jubilee Road Podcast, I was forced to look at charm and what it really meant to me. The prince ideal I teethed on withered away when Justin Gene Amerine stepped out on that shady cedar porch.
But I think the most intoxicating part of Justin’s charm was this, he didn’t try to be anything but himself.
When asked to list people I believed to be charming, the commonality I found was authenticity. The charming make no apologies for who they are or how they got that way.
Certainly, charm can be deceiving.
And, the most beautiful and handsome characters can seduce with their smile, stunning good looks and then, sometime after midnight they turn into a pumpkin, or worse, a monster.
Recently, I read an article about serial killer Ted Bundy, and he was described as “charming.” And this is just a shame and most likely leaves one thinking, “I am not sure what charming even is?”
But I purpose it is another one of those words, like the F word, that has been overused, lost it’s impact and shock value and doesn’t always accurately modify for the intent. And awesome was once reserved for Jesus, and it now it also conveys the magnificence of a good taco. No, I won’t beat a dead horse, you can read that rant here.
But I reserve the right to save charming for humans, who love well, admit their mistakes, always make eye contact, are honest, kind, and above all real.
So, about 5 months after that initial meeting with Justin, my dad came through San Angelo to take me, Lisa, who by then was my college roommate, and Justin to dinner. Justin had an Organic Chemistry midterm and declined the invitation so that he might study. After dinner, the three of us sat in Lisa’s and my tiny apartment and watched a movie. We were startled by a clamor in the bedroom. Lisa and I went to investigate, my dad on our heels.
And here came Justin, stumbling off of the balcony, through the window, into the dimly lit bedroom, serenading me.
Out of sorts from a couple of bottles of “study juice,” and way off key, he loudly and unwittingly professed his undying love. My dad flipped on the light switch and poor Justin steadied himself and cleared his throat. “Good evening Mr. McKelvie.” And my dad retorted, “Evening Justin, ready for your Chemistry test?”
Justin replied, “Uh… I took a break with… uh… some friends to…ummm….”
My spared him and interrupted, “Better get back at it. Will you be leaving the way you came?”
And Justin looked at my dad and said, “Yes, sir.”
Justin tipped his hat, and went out of the second story window, the same way he came.
This year on the Fourth of July, we recounted that story and belly laughed at the memory. The moment oozed the charm of family, history, love, and friendship.
And I don’t believe that true charm can be faked or contrived.
Furthermore, charm is wasted on the greedy and cruel. If wealth could buy charm, I submit it would cease to be charming. I purpose one can advance in charm through prayer and study but that genuine charm bubbles up from the depths of authenticity and a desire to know and be known.Charm is wasted on the greedy and cruel. If wealth could buy charm, I submit it would cease to be charming... Click To Tweet
Certainly, we have all been deceived. And yes, charm can be redefined through restoration. We might meet charm in a second chance or in the spirit of someone who has truly repented and been reborn.
I am most excited about all the charm still to be uncovered as this new season of the podcast unfolds.
I have been deep in study and unfortunately, deeper in a webpage disaster. Still, the One who sustains and motivates me continues to guide and inspire me. When all else is lost, the most charm I have ever encountered is from a gentleman named Jesus. He is the author of charming and the real Prince… all of us need.
You can listen to Season 5 Episode 1 below. Rebecca and I would like to thank our Patrons and ask you to prayerfully consider joining their ranks so we can continue to speak the Good News that has set us free and opened our eyes to charm in the most genuine of Creatures.
And all the charming folks say… Amen. Jesus be all over you… Love, Jami
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Read Rebecca’s post on CBD OIL… sooooo interesting here!