Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What is True Beauty?

To me, True Beauty is the beauty that is within and the more beautiful you are as a person the more that beauty will shine through to the outside no matter what the outsides are in reality. Today's culture has overly focused on the artificial beauty of the outside, to the point I often wonder have we lost sight of what is truly beautiful? That natural beauty we all possess but tend to mask with makeup, the beauty of the natural world around us that we avoid with our gadgets and comfortable air conditioned homes; nothing wrong with makeup or a/c - I live in Florida, so my a/c runs almost continually from mid-April through October, nothing wrong with the gadgets either, as long as we don't let them rule our lives.

Its amazing to see how dismissive people can be to both those they would see as sloppy and those they see as extremely beautiful. A friend of mine, since our middle school days, is the most stunning person I know personally. She is that perfect outer image of beauty, blessed with perfectly straight, non-frizzy hair, taller than me, thin, doesn't sweat (yes, I am serious), and always well put together. Some have said "Oh she's a snob.", when in fact she's extremely introverted and shy, so she's not a gabber till she knows you, and even then a gabber would not be an apt description. Then she's not a hugger, and never has been, but endures my hugs because she has to (she's got no choice in the matter, she's had to endure my hugs since she was 13). And the funny thing is, the times I see her with hardly any makeup are the times she is the most stunning. To me, because I know her so well, the person she is on the inside further eclipses the person the world sees. Her kindness, goodness, encouraging nature, patience, and industriousness inspire me always. Many of my other friends do too - and they are all beautiful to me, whether the world views them as super models or super moms.

We all need to be more generous to our fellow human beings. Are we looking down on them to make ourselves feel better about our own shortcomings?

How often we complain about the weather, the sun being in our eyes, etc. Yesterday, after a very hectic day of running errands for my dad and to gather supplies to usurp the rats in the attic, I was feeling very stressed. As I walked up the sidewalk in front of our condo, and my woefully neglected garden cried out of attention but was ignored again, a beautiful green dragonfly lighted upon the bannister in front of my front door. In this moment of taking in that little bit of dragonfly beauty was like God just said, "Look at this that I created, do not worry, you are in My hands." I immediately felt more at peace than I had all afternoon.

I do consciously try to take notice of the natural world around me - even in the managed nature of a suburb. Nature makes itself known. Sometimes even in the weeds that sprout up in the cracks in the sidewalk, or the dandelion that appears in the green carpet of grass. These weeds may be annoying to the landscaper or the gardener, but they do still have their own beauty.

So if I don't have time for an afternoon in the park, I use the time as I drive I try to take notice of that which is beautiful around me: the peanut grass in the medians is bright green now with little yellow flowers, even though the sun can be blinding at those certain angles, those same angles create amazing rays of light shining through the tree branches, the shadows crossing the road have an purple cast to them, I take a breath, life is actually pretty good. Have you ever noticed the light outside around 5:00pm? The way it hits the trees, even buildings, it makes it seem like the world is all aglow. Look for it next time, if you remember. Why do we make it so hectic, negative and insane? How often our own negative thought life plays the biggest role in if we view our lives as happy.

I guess the insanity of our daily lives is all a part of this human experience, but as we grow as people, we should take a second to look up from our gadgets, turn down the radio and open the blinds and hear the birds sing. There still there, the natural beauty is still there, all waiting for us to enjoy and to be refreshed by their design. Maybe by refocusing ourselves we can be better individuals, more compassionate to others and be stronger for our families.

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