Let me just say it: I am vain.
Sunlight slipping behind the clouds, as a five year old I’d tug on a pink tutu, play my music box (Three Blind Mice) and dance. As I danced beautifully, God would uncover the sun. Again and again. Yes, certainly God loves beauty. I wanted that.
But I must be clear—I did not necessarily want to work at ballet. I was just pretty sure leaping and twirls and lovely slippers would work for me.
My parents were a tough sell on toe shoes and tutus. The currency of our household was “smart”—having or showing quick intelligence or ready mental capability—not "pretty". My dancer dreams were dashed smartly (sharp, local, and usually superficial pain).
No worries, I ended up fine after all. Now I work beauty into every day as an artist. Personal beauty is not a huge focus, but I admit I long for elegance, grace and a measure of comeliness (even at 58).
Story time: Engineer and I go to a seminar. We run into a good friend and a pastor of ours from 21 years ago.
Pastor turns in his seat and speaks directly to Engineer, while I look on. Whenever I marry two people, at one point in the ceremony I turn to the groom and ask him to look at his bride. Together we admire her beauty. Soak it in. Pulling the groom’s gaze back to me, I get in close. Remember how stunning she is today. Remember, because she will grow more beautiful every year, every year, if YOU treat her RIGHT.
Pastor then looked at me and touched my cheek and said, you are lovely; Engineer must treat you REALLY well.
Believe me, I did not miss his compliment, but what astonished me was the compliment given my husband.
It was, actually, disorienting.
Beauty is a response.
This is new. A different VARIABLE.
Aside from raw material given at birth (and creative upkeep), there is an unaccounted for variable.
Engineer. Engineer. Can you feel my love for Engineer pulse and expand? And years of striving to be noticed in the eternal way of beauty, sloughing away. The dust scatters and disappears in the currents.
Let me just enjoy this moment.
Beauty, a gift from those around me, evidence, left like a fingerprint.
Oh but wait, what does that have to do with Do Hard Things?
Ahhh, the work of realizations that bump you from behind …
Well, I now find myself in charge of a beautification project like no other: not just the power to give beauty to someone, but a mandate to so.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.
Do for others what they cannot do for themselves. Love them. Give them Beauty.
Do Hard Things.
Afterword: I am thinking about the shine of Moses face after he had been with God, so much so that he had to cover it. Beautiful evidence of God’s goodness toward Moses,
Can I be that good to someone?