A Different Kind of Beauty

I first noticed it a few years ago.

It was a woman I have loved since we were children… All of a sudden she looked old.

It wasn’t really all of a sudden.  What with her busy life and my busy life, I hadn’t seen her in a few years.  My initial reaction was shock and dismay.

But as I thought about it, I realized that those years had been particularly difficult.  She had walked through deep griefs – the kind that are not only unbearably sad, but make you stop and evaluate your whole direction and way of life.

So I kept looking, and as we went through the process of getting to know each other again, my view changed entirely.  She has come through her grief and remained whole.  I don’t mean entirely complete – we have lost too much to be entirely complete in this lifetime.  But the kind of wholeness that has experienced life-altering pain, and not given up on love and hope.  The marks of her journey are unmistakable, they are written over her face; over her whole body.

She is one of the most beautiful women I know.

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I’ve seen the changes in my own looks over the last few years.  I’m very proud of the grey streak in my hair.  I saw the lines starting around my eyes, and thought “maybe I should start using night cream?”  And then I laughed and laughed, and wondered where that thought even came from.  (Products I own beyond ones used to wash are pretty much limited to deodorant and lip balm.)

I’ve seen it when I come on this blog, and see the fresh face on the banner picture above.  That wasn’t that long ago, but the years are showing like dog years.  Some of it is just the age that I am, some of it is the months without sleep, and some of it is less physical – the suffering I have seen, and been a part of.

I’ve seen other women whose pain is written plain for any to see who might look.  Their trauma has made them old before their years, and it is not beautiful, it is distressing and painful to be with them – because you cannot be with them without being faced with their suffering and brokenness.

 

This year can’t help but be etched deeply into the way I look.  I’m hoping pain makes me softer (emotionally, not physically), kinder, more patient, compassionate, loving, and hopeful.  I know I am looking older, but I think that these characteristics will be visible as well.

 

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6 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Beauty

  1. I have a feeling that your pain will make you softer and stronger, so long as you stay engaged in the faith struggle. So long as you feel the fullness of it and decide to let it shape you in the way that you choose. It’s easier to give in to bitterness and resentment and despair. Bless you.

  2. I am rocking my gray hair! Used to colour it but now love my gray, maybe I should add some purple! Very subtle, but purple may be in the future! Embrace your changes good or bad! Age & life may you more beautiful with time. Peace & love always!

  3. Yes. Your thoughts are perspective shifting. How do I define beauty? Our western culture defines beauty by what is viewed as desirable and valuable. We are not taught by this world to view pain and suffering as desirable or valuable. Yet if beauty in God’s view is found in the imprint of suffering… Hebrews 5:8 Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. Isaiah 52 Just as there were many who were astonished at him — so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals. And Isaiah 53 a man of suffering[a] and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account. 4 Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.
    John 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”

    Will Jesus still have the scars when we arrive in heaven? Perhaps, if this is indeed part of his beauty.

    One day we will see his beauty first hand. John 17:24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
    2 Thess. 1:10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed–for our testimony to you was believed.

  4. Pingback: more Beautiful, True, and Funny | Tallons' Tales Online

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