I started out as close to perfect as I would ever be. Baby soft skin-no wrinkles-sweet smiles and perfection--and then I began living and living vigorously and the scars that come along with that began to appear.
I have several childhood scars--stitches from the time I hit my foot with a shovel while digging in a pile of glorious dirt, and stitches from the time the knife I was whittling with at a fun filled camp week slipped and cut my hand. My knees are filled with the evidence of riding with abandonment on my bicycle during those long days of playing as a child. There are more scars whose origin are long forgotten--but are the results from a carefree time in life.
Then at 18 there was the appendix which was removed--my first of several surgery scars. Then there was my gall bladder which decided it was done after I ate one too many french fry. More biopsies than I can count, skin cancer removal, and the ravages of carrying huge babies for nine months have taken their toll.
There are crow's feet or as I prefer to call them smile lines beside my eyes. Sun spots from hours in the garden and enjoying the great outdoors. Why with time I have left the mark of perfection so far behind it is only a distant memory.
The World of Beauty has convinced us all we can do something about all this and correct the imperfections. I laughingly call the body - the money pit. If we only purchase these products and these services the flawlessness of youth can be recaptured. Here is a news flash--MOTHER NATURE WINS!
BUT--all these lines, all these scars, in fact everything which denotes imperfection also indicates a lifetime of living and the joy which came with that. Had I not played with all my might during my childhood, and instead stayed in a protective bubble--those scars would not be there. Had I eaten a healthier diet and skipped all those dishes I dearly loved, I might have avoided loosing a couple of parts. If I had stayed inside and avoided the sun, my skin would not be showing the ravages of sun damage. Why in fact, if I had skipped birthing those three babies, my stomach would be flat as a pancake. AND MY LIFE WOULD BE A SAD REFLECTION OF THE EMPTINESS CREATED BY THE NARCISSISTIC PURSUIT OF PHYSICAL PERFECTION.
Life is meant to be lived---and lived to the fullest--without living in a protective bubble. Going for the gusto never entails careful avoidance of all potential hazards--instead it seeks the thrill and joy of living life large.
Of course, there is also the fact that anyone who only appreciates us for what the surface looks like, is probably not someone we should spend a great deal of time worrying about. The Shallow Hal's of life will never take the time to discover the beauty of our hearts. As my mother taught me, "Pretty is as pretty does."
Thinking through this, I came to realize one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen is this one
I am convinced she had the secret to true beauty--real perfection. Her beauty did not come in a bottle or as the result of a procedure, or from avoiding exposure to some potential hazard, but did come from pursuing life to the fullest---for His good pleasure. A lifetime of service with abandonment marks her face and the beauty we see reflected is eternal.
Look not upon my face with pity, but instead stare deeply into my heart and know my inner beauty. There are many far more beautiful on the surface, but I know He recognizes my true beauty and loves me deeply.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment,
such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self,
the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which is of great worth in God's sight.
I Peter 3:3-4