Wednesday, February 14, 2007

You're Beautiful

After a trip to pick up firewood, I decided to treat myself to Starbucks. With help I managed to fill up the truck, tie it down and drive it on home. If you don't have FM, sciatica and arthritis, you may not know what a feat this was. I was feeling pleased and that kind of delicious tiredness that comes with pushing oneself to accomplish a physical task.

I pulled into the drive through at my local Starbucks (why haven't they called me for an interview yet?) the cheerful male voice called out, "How are you today, beautiful?"

"Fine. How are you?"

"Great. What can I get for you this Valentine's Day?"

Gotta say, that even though I am not one who meets the standard of beauty, and though I knew who it must have been calling out through the speaker (turns out they have this tiny camera so they can see you, but you cannot see them), and though I know this guy is harmlessly flirting, and is young enough to be my son (gasp!) it still made me feel good. It's been a very long time since anyone called me beautiful. Kind of brings tears to my eyes to think about it.

I don't expect those kind of compliments, truly I don't. It sure feels good to hear, even if it's not true.

Made me remember an episode of "Cheers" from way back. Coach's daughter was really frustrated with her dad cause he called her beautiful. "Don't you see me dad?" She didn't want him to patronize her. "Look at me!" she insisted. He looked at her and in a choked voice he said, "You look just like your mother." It was clear from what followed that he had thought his wife was beautiful, and in doing so you realized that his daughter now realized that he was speaking the truth as he saw it. He truly saw her as beautiful.

When I think about it I know many women who look all different ways, ultra-thin, voluptuous, dark-straight hair, short frizzy hair, freckles, big lips, thin lips...oh I could go on, but you know what I mean. Think of the women you know and how their beauty is so different from one to the next. From the wholesome outdoor girl to the pale, wan, ethereal type, each has their own beauty. Perhaps that is the lesson I need to internalize today. Perhaps I am holding myself to a standard which I don't apply to anyone else. Perhaps others see me the way I see them, as having a unique attraction. I don't expect everyone to look alike, merely to be the best individual they are...and in the end, I think I really look for the heart that shines out. Are they compassionate? Loving? Kind? Funny? Merciful? Just? True? Do they face life with courage? I have some friends I would find impossible to describe physically because I see such joy and courage in their faces that that is the beauty I see when I think of them. Their internals shine on the outside.

Oh, that is the beauty to which I aspire. What matters it whether I have perfect skin, flawless body, shiny gorgeous hair, perfectly straight teeth? what does it matter that my eyes don't work together? One day, given enough years, we will all have matching sets of wrinkled skin and gray hair. May the lines on my face be that of smiles and joy rather than the frown of depression. May my eyes shine with love and compassion.