Update: On January 18, 2020, Nicolette Tedesco passed away. She is now in heaven with Jesus.
We often judge a book by its cover. However, first impressions aren’t always correct.
Last week I was in southern California. I have spent many years there over my life, and I have an amazing set of friends I try and see at least once a year.
This year, while I was there, I went to breakfast with two of these friends. They live near Hermosa Beach. Our choice for breakfast was nothing fancy, a simple breakfast at the local Denny’s.
While we were eating our food, we saw this senior woman holding hands with patrons of the restaurant and we even heard her sing a song. From first impressions, and her brightly colored clothing, my friends said they were pretty sure she was a gypsy reading palms. They had also seen her at their local Starbucks. Given what I saw from a distance, I was inclined to agree with their assessment. She had long hair pulled back into a ponytail and wore brightly colored earrings and clothing (pinks, purples, and blues). She looked to be in her later years definitely.
This woman sat there quietly at her table. She had a smile on her face the entire time, and I admit I have never seen someone look so peaceful while they sat alone in a public establishment. Many of us have a an uncomfortable feeling when we are alone eating in public, almost as if it is taboo to do so.
As my friends and I got up to leave when finished with our breakfast, they went ahead of me and out the door. What prompted me to do what I did next can only be explained by the Holy Spirit. I looked down at her table, there wasn’t anything there that would normally make me do that, but I looked anyway. What I saw made me gasp inside and realize that first impressions can be so wrong sometimes. You know: “don’t judge a book by its cover.”
She had a small piece of paper on the table, and I am not sure what the entire thing said, but what I did see was the word ‘Jesus.’
I felt this wave of amazement come over me, and this sense of peace and happiness, that is very unusual since I suffer from anxiety.
I stopped, and I said, “You are a Christian?!”
She said, “Yes! 89 years and going strong.”
What I did next was even more stunning! I reached over, gave her a hug, kissed her forehead, and said “God bless your day.” I NEVER hug strangers. Seriously! Ever!
Before I walked away, she handed me a short article, which turned out to be a story that had been written about her by an author and local paper. Then she said, “Love you more.”
I felt like I had just hugged my grandmother! I left smiling and full of wonder.
When I got outside, my friends asked, “Did she read your palm?”
I said, “No. She is a Christian! She believes in Jesus and is praying for the people who stop by her table.”
Oh, the amazement in their eyes! I handed them one of the print outs (an article adapted from a book by Boots LeBaron), as the lady had given me two. I think they were just as dumbfounded as I was at the revelation this lady was not what we had thought.
Instead of criticizing passersby she is showing God’s love. Instead of condemning people and saying they are going to hell, she loves them, prays for them, and sends them on their way with God’s blessings.
I have seen believers on the streets with the signs “Repent or you will go to hell.” I cringe because I think of how if I were a non-believer that would drive me off even more.
This woman is showing God’s love. She prays even if the people don’t believe. Her method shows that there are so many ways we can share God’s love without being the judger; the condemner.
I am blessed to have met this woman, even if for such a brief moment. You can feel God’s love emanating from her. She has a peace that only someone confident in their relationship with Christ can display.
Thank you, Nikie Tedesco, for not just talking about Christ’s love but for also showing it in the way I believe Christ did when he was on earth.
“Whether you are a believer, an in-betweener, or non-believer, without hesitation, I’ll testify before any court, that Nikie Tedesco is no wimp. She’s a courageous little lady who believes that “everybody needs love.” And she delivers!”
As a believer, I agree! Everybody needs love.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13
You can read more about Nicolette “Nikki” Tedesco at Not By Sight and Easy Reader News. A picture of her, not shown, was taken by Kevin Cody, publisher of Easy Reader and Beach. The original article was adapted from the book, The Human Race, by Boots LeBaron, an award-winning writer, essayist and poet. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Niki Tedesco attends Breakwater Church in Redondo Beach, CA.