It’s amazing to me how different life looks if you ever bother to look at more than the outside surface of things. In our world today we’re all so busy, and we get so caught up in doing things and getting things and having things that we forget what’s really important. What’s really important is not how something, or more to the point–someone, looks on the outside. It’s what’s inside that counts.
One of the things that fascinates me about the story “Deep in the Heart” is the paradox of being image rich and reality poor–and vice versa, being image poor and reality rich. In the story, Keith is the son of a billionaire. He literally has the world at his feet–a beautiful fiancée who is wealthy and well-connected and a father who owns half of Texas. Okay, not half, but pretty close. He is the definition of Image Rich.
Then there’s Maggie Montgomery. Poor Maggie. I’m telling you from the first time you meet her, you will feel a twinge of sympathy for her. She literally has nothing in life–two dollars in her purse and a car that’s going to break down any second. She is in every way image poor. In fact, she’s not even wearing her own shoes, and the shoes she is wearing don’t fit. She is to all the world the personification of Image Poor.
But look a little closer and you begin to see that everything is not as the image would have you believe. For one thing, Keith’s life is a mess. Oh, he talks a good game and looks good doing it–when he’s all citified that is. However, when Maggie first meets him on the stairs of his father’s mansion, she doesn’t see that at all. Why? Because there he is image poor.
In his dusty jeans and ripped shirt, he doesn’t look like a billionaire’s son, and because he doesn’t look that way, she trusts him enough to be real–to let him see the real her–nerves and imperfections and all. Had he looked image rich, she would never have trusted him because she wouldn’t have felt anywhere near his league. And that’s part of the paradox. We treat others by how we see them, never realizing there is always much more to the story.
Of course, for Keith he’s really not a fan of the image rich lifestyle. He’s seen it up-close-and-personal and he wants no part of it. Except he can’t keep his father and everyone else from dragging him down that dark hole of being who he isn’t and how he isn’t to keep up the image until he’s come to the point that maybe he should give up what he wants and just accept the image rich persona everyone wants to put on him.
For Maggie, she had no chance at image rich. The truth is, she’s just struggling for survival. However, because of that, she’s had to become Really (or Spiritually) Rich. Oh, this doesn’t show on her clothes or her shoes or her hairstyle. It shows only in her heart, and those wise enough to look below the image are the only ones lucky enough to see how truly rich she really is. Of course, everyone in Keith’s circle is horrified because her image is all wrong, but Keith is slowly drawn not to the outside image but to what’s really there. As this happens, he begins to question if it is possible for him to shed the image everyone wants him to be and go for what he really is.
However, shedding the image and reaching for Really Rich rather than Image Rich is not always as easy as it sounds, and Keith soon learns that becoming Really Spiritually Rich is much, much harder than it looks. Can he break out of what the world says he should look like in order to become the man he really is meant to be?