Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Eye of the Beholder

What is beauty? What have we been taught to perceive as beauty in the world around us? If one is to believe Madison Avenue, then it’s the lithe and sexy supermodel – legs that are 6 feet long, dark flowing hair and seductive eyes.

Society tries to feed us this image and make us believe it. We are told that if we don’t have the perfect abs, the perfect car, the perfect lips, the perfect job – we just aren’t one the “beautiful people” – and there’s something wrong with us.

And some times we fall for it. We cut ourselves to “fix” what we are. To change what we were given so it fits the distorted view of society. We can be beautiful…if only.
But in reality we know beauty to be something else. Something we really don’t see at all. We just know it. We may see it with our eyes, but it is the heart which recognizes the true beauty.


Our kindergarten teacher taught us that there is beauty in the flowers for mother that we draw with crayons on crumpled colored construction paper. Mom thinks they are beautiful, because they came from us. She sees beauty in the smudged drawing of her that makes her look like she’s been on a bender, but the beauty is all she can see.

A child as it slips from the womb, bluish gray and wrinkled, covered in blood and mucous. Does this fit the plastic Hollywood image? Yet we weep with joy at the beauty of the event.

Our spouse sees us as we grow old and gray. Time lines the face and hands, with the mosaic of our lives. Like fine china, crazed with loving use. But still he thinks we are beautiful, and more even than before time touched our porcelain glaze.

So in spite of how society tries so desperately hard to tell us that we don’t know what truly is beautiful, how is it that we really do know better? Can you imagine looking at a beaten and bloody body of a man and thinking of beauty? Would you ever be able to see the anguish in the eyes of one who is being pounded with nails and think of beauty?

Christ gave us the ability to do just that.

He gave us the ability to see. Not with our eyes, but with our heart, with our soul. To see beyond the suffering and the grief. Beyond the blood and the gore. Because what lies beyond is something so beautiful as to take our breath way. It is the gift He gives. It is what He offers. To the casual observer who does not believe in Christ, the crucifixion is a horrendous and hideous act of brutal savagery upon an innocent man. But – when you take that leap of Faith, and take what Christ has freely given, your eyes are opened to the larger and truly more beautiful picture.

Take that leap! Jump – from 30,000 feet – take the free fall! If you believe that God will be there at the bottom waiting to catch you, it will be a beautiful flight. If not……well, let Hollywood write the scene for you.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We’ve heard it all our lives. Could it be that the beholder isn’t the one who is stupid enough to see beauty where others don’t, but truly the one who sees beauty where only God would be clever enough to hide it?

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