Sunday, July 1, 2012

BEAUTY . . .

What is Beauty?  This has long been a topic of discussion with my friends throughout most of my life.  The opinions vary.  To one, beauty looks like “this” and to another “that” . . .  there never seems to be a consensus.

Even the well-known sayings about beauty leave room for disagreement.  Sayings such as: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” or “Beauty is as beauty does,” and finally “Beauty is only skin deep.”  No clarification here.

Now, I can appreciate a beautiful man or woman.  I see the chiseled jaw, perfect smile with gleaming white teeth, and the powerful physique on the male model, and call it beautiful.  I notice the flawless complexion, wide clear eyes, full lips, and slender silhouette of the woman in a movie or in the latest issue of Vogue, and envy her perfection.  Because of thoughts like these, it is easy to understand that my own idea of beauty has prevented me from ever seeing myself as beautiful.

Throughout my life I have spent an inordinate amount of time mentally comparing myself to those around me to see where I fit in on the scale of 1-10 perfection.  My thoughts ran on and on as to whether I was more or less attractive than I viewed others to be.  Yet in spite of such limiting thoughts, there have been many times that I have been surprised at what I saw as beautiful.  I would see someone and be astounded at how beautiful they appeared, even if that beauty did not match my previously held ideas, or the predominant view promoted by current experts.  It is because of such experiences that my ideas have been changed.

Several years ago I ran into an old friend from high school.  He was someone I dated for a short period of time, and I remember he was considered to be one of the best looking boys in my school.  I also remember that when he would walk by, many of my girlfriends would stare at him with teenage longing. 

What I noticed when I saw him again, after nearly 30 years, was that he was still very handsome, in spite of a few wrinkles and some gray hair.  In fact, he appeared to be even more handsome than I remembered.  As I pondered this I realized that though he was beautiful to behold as a young man, his beauty was like that of a newly mined rock.  The rock may contain various veins of color, with hints of gleaming metal, but only after it has been put into the grinder and had all of its jagged edges worn off can the true beauty of the “stone” shine through.  It appeared as though life’s experiences had polished him, worn away all of his rough edges.  Thus I saw, that with age and experience often come wisdom and extraordinary beauty.

So now I wonder, is beauty as simple as physical perfection as all of the glossy ads would lead me to believe?  Or, is it more?  I still don’t know why one person might think that someone or something is beautiful and another might not.  It is obviously a case of preference, and that is as varied as people on this planet.

For me, it now comes down to this one thing.  Can I drop the walls that separate us and find a way to connect with you?  Can I look past our differences and see how you and I are alike?  Will you tell me what you love, hate, think, and feel?  If so, then I will see you as beautiful because I will see that we are one and the same, and that is love.