I was floored last week to barely recognize a well known actress from a 70s sitcom as she loomed large on my TV screen. I rarely watch TV, but being it’s the Christmas season, my daughter insisted that we catch a few of the Hallmark Hall of Fame cheesy holiday movies.
I had to double check the credits as this particular actress caught my eye. She slightly resembled her younger famous self, but she hadn’t aged well at all. It sure got my attention. And made me sad in a way. I guess partly because I’ve been thinking a lot about appearance lately as I’ve been working on a chapter about outer beauty for my new book, More Beauty, Less Beast.
I have to admit the damage done by the ravages of time made me pity her.
And then today as I was filling my gas tank, I studied my reflection in my car’s side window and suddenly identified with that poor actress. How often do we really look at ourselves? For me, it’s just a casual glance in a mirror a few times a day to make sure I don’t have spinach between my teeth or my hair isn’t sticking out like a scarecrow. But there in the glaring light of day reflected in my window, every single wrinkle, ugly pore, blemish, and saggy jowel showed up loud and clear.
Was that really ME? It didn’t look like the me in my head – the self-image I’ve had of me for the past decade.
It was eye-opening to say the least.
I was immensely thankful that I don’t have to make my living by my appearance. How draining it must be to have to be beautiful all the time. Certainly there are those who do it and have done it well for decade after decade; Christy Brinkley, Rachel Welch, and Sophia Loren come to mind. Timeless beauties, by anyone’s standards.
But what is beauty by God’s standards?
That’s precisely what I intend to find out. That intangible, indescribable, radiant beauty that shines from within – we’ve all known people who had it. People who don’t necessarily posess society’s standards of physical beauty, but leave us basking in their beauty nonetheless.
As I journey through life, never knowing what surprises (or wrinkles or bags) the next bend in the road will bring, I want to know that I will always be beautiful to my Father. The only one who counts.