Beautiful

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This is my new kitchen window. All I wanted to do yesterday was sit and stare at it and think about how beautiful it is. I love it. I told my friend the other day that having it makes me feel like a princess. Truly.
I know, I know. You probably don’t see it. Not as beautiful. Not like I do. But then again you don’t know the journey of this kitchen window. You don’t know the difficulties we’ve had with it, and you don’t know the vision we have for what it will be like when it’s all completed. All you see is a snapshot.
Remember this.
Remember this particularly if you feel un-beautiful, or stuck in process, or like you’re stuck in a rut and powerless to change: beauty (and value) are more than just a snapshot. They’re about knowing the journey.
If you feel less than fully lovely today, remember the long ago person
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The ugly truth

Bridgette Bardot

Bridgette Bardot

I have a friend who looks like the young Bridgette Bardot. No joke. In fact there’ll be people reading this blog who know me in my real life (in which I am fairly boring and don’t actually say that much, but that’s another story) who’ll look at this photo and say “Wow, is that…” although I won’t say her name here, because that would just be awkward. And it’s not. It’s Bridgette Bardot (with plenty of clothes on). But, you who are reading this and know who I’m talking about, you’re getting it too, right? It’s weird being friends with someone who looks so much like a supermodel. I’ve learned to deal with it better over the years as I’ve grown more comfortably into my own skin, and got to know her better as well. I know her well on the inside, and I see right through the outside these days, but early on, when I first met her, I found her beauty confronting.

Have you ever experienced that? Is it just me? I’m pretty sure it’s probably a girl thing, so I do apologise to all the blokes out there reading this who are thinking “what?” but never mind. Ask your wife, or your girlfriend. Or your sister. See what they say. Or go hang out with Pierce Brosnan for a few days and see how it makes you feel. Beauty can be challenging.

Sometimes I feel the same way about being in someone’s beautiful house.

Sure, I just nicked this from Google, but…wow. Sometimes I’ve stood in people’s houses that are this beautiful, and instead of simply appreciating the beauty, I feel out-of-place. Not good enough. Unwelcomed by it’s sheer beauty. (Okay, this is definitely a girl thing, isn’t it? If you’re a guy and you’ve ever felt this way, please let me know!)

Here’s the truth though: I have as much right to a beautiful house as the next person.

Here’s another truth: my Bridgette Bardot supermodel friend doesn’t see herself as beautiful at all.

And another truth: another of my precious friends tells me she sometimes picks up jeans from the rack that are much too large for her, because that’s sometimes the size she sees herself as. And, conversely, I,who used to be skinnier, sometimes pick up jeans that would have fitted me ten years ago.

I look at myself in the mirror every single day. So does my Bridgette Bardot friend. Every single day, yet we still don’t get it.

The ugly truth is this: we lose the ability somehow, somewhere, to see ourselves as God sees us: as fearfully and wonderfully made; as precious and honoured; as beautiful simply because we are made in His image. Yet This. Is. What. We. Are. We are robbed from the truth by beauty magazines, by television, the internet, by the lies we listen to in our own minds. It’s time, for me at least, to acknowledge and grow beyond it.

It’s a new week. Do me a favor, take a minute today to acknowledge yourself as beautiful. Yes you. I’ll do it too. Now come back and tell me how you go. 

Hey, where did all the perfect people go?

When I was a kid pretty much everybody was perfect. Well…pretty much everybody, except me. Back then things were measured differently. You needed to have the right hair, the absolute right clothes, the zips on the right side of your trouser legs, the right logo on your sports socks and absolutely the right number of stripes on your sneakers.

It was a given.

To not have these meant, of course, that you are less than perfect. It didn’t matter how smart you were, or how well you swam, or danced, or played the trombone, it was how you looked that counted.

Everybody knew that.

I knew it because I read enough of my Mum’s magazines to know everything: how to deal with unwanted facial hair, what to do if I caught my husband with another woman (useful knowledge when you’re twelve), and Why Cybil Won’t be Wearing InsertNameofDesignerHere This Year at the Oscars.

The pictures in those magazines were helpful, because they showed me who I needed to be.

Blonde, obviously, and with long hair that fell and bounced in slow movements over my shoulders. Red pouty lips, and skin all creamy smooth and buttery.

I didn’t have any of those things. Nor did I have the zips on the right side of my trousers or the right amount of stripes on my sneakers, but I knew that that was just a matter of time. By the time I grew up, I knew, I wasn’t going to look like my Mum, with saggy boobs and a tummy that fell and bounced in slow movements and skin that creased and rainbowed with more colours than a scoop of Neapolitan ice cream.

I. Knew. Better. I knew that one day I’d be perfect too. I knew what to aim for. I knew it was only a matter of time.

Well.

Time has passed. Much time.

 I took my kids to the skating rink over the weekend, and while they played I sat back quietly and watched all the people careening past in various stages of skateability.

They were beautiful, stunningly beautiful, all of them. I loved them for their beauty.

There were mums there with tummies like mine, that fell and bounced in slow movements, and boobs like mine that fell far south of where any twelve-year old dreams they should be. There were boys with silly hair and far too many pimples and long legs and arms that they were still to grow into. There were little girls whose well-groomed pigtails had loosed their bondage and were dragging behind them like stray cat’s tails, and many more children who looked like they’d just fallen out of a clothes dryer than looked like they’d just stepped out of a TV commercial.

And as they span and careened and limboed and gawked and fell over the rink the smiles on their faces said everything worth knowing.

Perfect is never to be found in magazines.

Perfect is found in being who you truly are, and enjoying it.