Saturday, July 24, 2010

And now, for something a little more direct on abandonment . . .

Several weeks ago, I read a statement about losing our sense of beauty and loveliness somewhere along the way on this journey in life. (It may have been on one of my favorite blogs, Ivy League Insecurities.) It really struck a cord with me. I have been given many chances in this life to fully accept my beauty, but have I really? Sadly, the answer for me would be no.

And your answer is this moment? Have you lost your sense of your own beauty and loveliness somewhere along the way? Has it been left behind in some mud puddle somewhere, only to be trampled upon by passersby? Or perhaps you left it in a summer meadow, where the grass is sweet and the wind whispers gently to it, but you left it there nonetheless. Abandoned.

Chances are, if you have abandoned your own beauty and loveliness, you've abandoned the beauty and loveliness of others as well. Perhaps you are very much like me, and it is easier to see the beauty and loveliness of everyone else--whether we are speaking of physical beauty or inner beauty. But, what if, in abandoning my own beauty and loveliness, it has made me blind to the fullness of beauty and loveliness in others? What if I can only see them in a glass dimly because I left behind my own loveliness somewhere along the way?

I had a vision this past week, in which I was shown the time and the place where I chose to abandon my own beauty and loveliness. I was all of seven years old, and I had not been chosen to play the lead, Miss Spring, in the second grade play. Instead, I was chosen as the much more prosaic Miss Apple Tree. I still remember my deep disappointment at not being chosen. You see, deep inside me at seven years old, I knew I was Miss Spring. I embodied springtime exuberance and blossoming, the grace of soft sunshine and gentle flowers and the whisper of reawakening. And, oh, how very much I embodied the sun! The friend chosen to be Miss Spring was, of course, a blond and she was oh, so lovely! Through my seven-year-old eyes, I could see her beauty and loveliness. I could see the glow of grace around her. And, for the first time that I can remember, I knew that beauty and loveliness could be judged and found wanting. I felt that my own beauty had been judged and found wanting. There was no glow of grace surrounding me.

And so, I abandoned it right then and there. I decided I was neither beautiful nor lovely like the springtime. I was not, and never would be, Miss Spring. I was not the very embodiment of the Sun itself. I, instead, was practical and prosaic. I was someone to go unnoticed by the world. I was brown. I was Miss Apple Tree. I judged my own beauty and found it wanting.

It's funny how the little decisions we make as children can follow us throughout our lives. Little people making little decisions with far reaching implications.

In the vision, I was shown that while spring is the promise of beauty, the summer and fall is beauty fulfilled. It is in the summer and fall that the promise of beauty contained in the springtime flowers becomes the fruit that gives and sustains life. Miss Apple Tree, I was shown, was the very embodiment of beauty and loveliness fulfilled. Not just the promise of it--the complete fulfillment of it. The kind of beauty and loveliness that sustains. Can I embrace that kind of beauty and loveliness? Can I see my beauty and loveliness as the kind that gives to others and sustains them? I choose for my answer this time to be, "Yes!"

Can you find where you may have abandoned your beauty and loveliness? Did you abandon it all, or just part of it? Can your answer to the call of your own beauty and loveliness now be yes? I do hope so! For your sake, and for the sake of us all, I do hope so!

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