Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Morning

"Charm is deceptive, & beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
Proverbs 31:30

Have you ever known ... or met ... someone whom society considers beautiful?  If so, were they truly beautiful?

It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  My husband tells me every day how beautiful I look.  I know I'm not what anyone else would ever consider physically beautiful but to him I am.  He also thinks I'm a beautiful person on the inside.  What a blessing it is to be married to a man who loves me & sees me like this after 35 years of marriage.  The "beautiful inside" part means even more to me than the physical aspect.    

There was a girl in my high school who looked exactly ... & I do mean exactly ... like Raquel Welch.  People were literally dumbstruck when they would see her.  I had a guy friend who just happened to be friends with this girl.  I was a senior at the time & they were both juniors.  One day my friend spotted Arlene talking with some of her friends in the hallway & he said "There's Arlene!  Come with me ... I'll introduce you!"  We walked over to  her & my friend said "Arlene, this is my friend Shirlee."  I smiled & said hello.  Arlene in turn looked me up & down, forced herself to say hello, & then immediately turned & walked away.  She didn't even try to hide her disgust that my friend actually thought she might want to meet me.  I know that "disgust" probably sounds a tad exaggerated but I can't think of any other way to describe it.  I was stunned ... not by her physical beauty but by the immense ugliness she projected.

I've met other physically beautiful people in my lifetime.  I've rarely met one who also possessed inner beauty.  

I've also known people whom society would consider homely or even ugly.  There was a girl in my middle school who was a year ahead of me.  One of her legs was shorter than the other so she wore a brace & she hobbled when she walked.  Her hair was dark, short & curly, she was overweight, she wore glasses, & her clothes looked like either hand-me-downs or as if they had been made from someone else's discarded clothing.  Many of the kids in school made fun of her.  Others totally ignored her.  She was, however, the kindest, sweetest, funniest, most thoughtful person you would ever want to meet.  She had many interests & she was always smiling.  I was proud to have her as a friend.  Her inner beauty shone like the sun.

There is so much focus on physical beauty now-a-days.  It is difficult to find a celebrity who hasn't had some kind of plastic surgery.  Magazines airbrush photos to make their bodies appear even thinner than they already are.  I'm not "into" celebrities.  I don't know who Kim Kardashian is or why her opinions appear to be so highly valued.  I don't understand why anyone cares what Pippa Middleton is doing.  I especially don't understand how people can look at someone ... like Cher for instance ... & talk about how beautiful she is & how good she looks for her age when even she herself admits that her looks & body were purchased at the plastic surgeon's office. 

Beauty, however, oftentimes doesn't just relate to physical appearance or a person's inner self.  A person is sometimes viewed as beautiful because of the clothes they wear, the jewelry they have, the home they live in, or the car they drive.  Finding beauty in a person because of the possessions they've accumulated or the line of work they are in is sad.  Unfortunately I have known some people like this.  While talking with them they will refer to a mutual friend or family member & berate them for their taste in clothes, the way they decorate their home, the furniture they buy, the jewelry they wear, the books they choose to read, etc.  I will usually say something like "Well, everyone likes different things."  Sometimes if I'm feeling especially rowdy I will say "Well, I'm sure there are probably things you & I like & do that other people think are weird."  That always gets me "the look" ... lol!   

The point is that all this focus on things like career advancement & education & possessions & beauty is, in the long run, a gigantic waste of time.  I'm not saying that we shouldn't strive for the best but God does not judge us on how we look, the things we've accumulated, or which rung of the job ladder we've reached.  In the end there will be no difference between us & the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize, Bill Gates, or a beauty queen.  We all eat, sleep, brush our teeth, & put on our pants one leg at a time.  What will matter is the way we've lived our lives ... the kindness we've shown to others, the help we've provided to those in need, the fact that we've never knowingly cheated anyone or taken credit for someone else's accomplishment.  Most important will be our love for God & our attempt to live our lives as He wants us to live them so that others may see Him in us & come to know Him through us.  


Angela said...

Shirlee, So true. I am so proud I learned a long time ago not to "Judge a Book by it's cover", and that "Beauty is only skin deep" These two sayings have been proven true so many times upon meeting someone. The world would be a much better place if people would only take time to get to know someone before judging them. Hoping you had a great Sunday.

bettyj said...

Learned this lesson years ago. I am glad people didn't judge me either. Good post Shirlee! Having retired from Sp Ed I have been privy to that inner beauty in all kinds of "packaging"

Kathleen said...

AMEN! Well said!