We create beauty in many ways, and in huge variety. Beauty adds quality and value to life. It lifts us from the dirt. It’s a gift given by and reflective of God. Beauty is important. So often as women though, we struggle with embracing our own unique beauty. Sadly, we often overlook it in others.
Of course there are those who have been given a beautiful appearance. Think Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Carrie Underwood, etc. We should neither venerate nor shame beautiful people. But we shouldn’t limit the definition of beauty either.
Even though I wish my body looked more like Audrey Hepburn or Anne Hathaway’s I’m thankful for it. It’s beautiful to me because it’s born two children, loved a good man, hugged friends, served family, spoken truth, taken me to amazing places, and worked hard. It’s a good body. I judge it as a gift. It’s not beautiful in the same way a ballerina or models is. And that’s okay. My body is also not the only definition of beauty for my life.
We should be gentle with each other, honoring the beauty we each create with our bodies, our minds, our hearts. My life, and I’m sure yours, is better for knowing people who create beauty. Either by nurturing it in their very person or creating it in the world around them. Give thanks for the beautiful people God has blessed you with!
In November I like to write about things I’m thankful for. This season I’m appreciating the beautiful people in my life, so for the next few weeks I’m going to share some of their stories, starting with my friend Heather.
Recently we had lunch with Heather and her daughter Bella. Heather underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer all summer. It was, as you can imagine, grueling. It’s been a treat over the last few weeks to see her sparkle returning as her body heals.
At lunch Heather was telling me that her daughter Bella greets people with, “Hi my name is Isabella Jane. And this is my mom. She’s bald.” We had a chuckle over some of the crazy experiences she has as a bald woman. She rocks being bald! It’s stunning how beautiful she is physically, but her journey has also brought out a lovely inner beauty. Heather’s humor and grace under pressure has infused beauty in many people’s lives, certainly mine.
Seeing her humorous attitude and watching Bella figure out her mom’s illness inspired me to write a little story. Here it is, the story of Bella and Bald! Complete with pitiful illustrations. (Sorry Heather, proportion is not my thing, you really don’t have man arms! And as my kids informed me, my Bella doesn’t really look like Bella. Which is true.)
Bella and Bald
I have a small friend named Bella. She is smart and very funny. She twirls about when she is happy and stomps when she is mad. Her dimples make me smile. Bella is five and went to kindergarten this year.
Bella has a mom and dad and a bunny named Honey Bunny. Bella’s mom is bald.
When she goes to the store she says to the lady at the check out “Hello, my name is Bella and my mom is Bald.” When she meets a new friend at school the first thing she says is, “My name is Isabella Jane and my mom is Bald.” Wherever they go she points to her mom and says, “my mom is Bald.”
Her mom wasn’t always bald. Bella remembers her mom’s long dark brown hair. She remembers the way it felt when she hugged her mom and it tickled her face. She remembers brushing her mom’s hair and putting bows and ribbons in it.
But one day last spring her mom got her hair cut really short. A few days later, when she started taking chemotherapy, she shaved it off. Bella cried.
Her mom didn’t look quite like her mom anymore. Her mom also felt sick and tired every day. It was hard for Bella to understand.
Sometimes Bella felt angry that her mom couldn’t play with her. Sometimes she felt scared or was sad. After a while Bella began to realize that her mom was still her mom. She could still hug her and love her. And now, instead of brushing her mom’s hair she put stickers on her bald head! She liked that.
When Bella meets new people she tells them her name is Bella and her mom is Bald. What she’s really saying is I’m me and my mom is just fine.
Maybe you have a friend or family member who is bald, or who feels sick because they are taking medicine for cancer. Actually, my friend Bella and I are a lot alike. Bella’s mom and my mom both have cancer. Just like our moms your loved one is special. They are strong. And they need to know that you are you and they are just fine. So give them a hug, be brave, and love them with or without their hair.
This November let’s thank God for his expression of beauty in the hearts of others, beauty that brightens our lives. I’m thankful for Bella and Heather. God’s glory shines out of beautiful people. Who are you thankful for, who brightens your life?