Tuesday, February 23, 2016
All My Friends Are Gorgeous
I don't think I ever even learned the girl's name. Not sure if it was the camp where I was visiting my friend Debi or one of the places we visited for my Models of Youth Ministry class, but I remember the beautiful girl.
She was frowning. Mopping up a wet kid who had encountered some sort of mishap. I can't remember that either, what happened to the boy to get him wet, I mean. What I do remember are her words as she reprimanded the others who were laughing at him. "It's not cool to make other people feel embarrassed." Such simple words but so powerful. So heroic. She was a nice-looking girl anyway, but in that moment she was absolutely beautiful.
Then there was the time that the VBS teacher went around the room to every kid in the class to make a personal connection with them. She asked each of them their name. It sounded something like this: "Hannah? My granddaughter's name is Hannah. Ben? My son's name is Ben! Mary? That's my name." No kidding. She found a personal connection with each and every child because of their names. It was beautiful.
Another time it was one of my roommates. I walked though the front door of our apartment and they could tell by the look on my face that I had just had my heart broken. She wasn't the cuddly type. Not sappy like me. But she just looked at me and then said four words. "Come sit by me." She put her arm around me and let me cry. Beautiful.
But you went to high school with the other kind of girl, too, didn't you? Cute as a button and mean as a snake? I wonder if the government issues them to each school along with their state standards.
They seem to be everywhere we go.
Proverbs 31:30 says "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
You've heard that verse before, I know, but let's look closely. Charm is deceitful. Attractiveness, lure, glamour, all pretty easily manufactured and therefore nothing but hot air. Sure some people are charming because they're genuinely endearing, but there's no way of knowing if it's real without looking deeper than mere personality.
And beauty is even less reliable as a signifier of what someone is really like. For the most part we don't get to choose what we look like. We all age. Youth is temporary. That girl you went to high school with had golden flowing locks and sparkly eyes but her cruelty cancelled it out, didn't it? She may have gotten attention but I bet you felt sorry for her just like I did.
Because pretty is as pretty does. Beautiful comes from the inside out. Like the ladies I just mentioned. They were luminous with Christ's love.
My photographer friend who called me one morning because I was having a bad day. My writer friend who when I read her work, I feel like she's sitting right by me cradling her coffee and speaking healing right to the hearts of her readers. Another writer friend who amazes me with how she breathes life into her stories. My friend who always treats everyone with kindness and the one who seems to greet every day with patient, assured strength. All of them are stunning. Not because of what they look like, though they are beautiful, but because they use their gifts to bless others. Their beauty will never fade because it radiates from the inside out.