Beauty in the eye of the beholder…

“Beautiful is a manner of being – not looking” Karen Zeigler

I came across this quote on my twitter feed not too long ago and it had an impact on me.  Of  course we know  that beauty is more than just looking beautiful – however there was just something about the way this was phrased that caused me to stop and think.

Beautiful is a manner of “being”.

I thought about it – and I thought about “things” that are beautiful – like a beautiful sunrise or sunset or the colour of leaves on the trees in the fall, or a wonderfully appointed room in a beautiful home, or the way a beautiful meal is presented on the plate, or the first glimpse of a bride as she makes her entrance or the wondrous majesty of a waterfall with it’s thundering roar, or the smell of a crackling fire on a cool fall or winter day.  All of these “things” are beautiful not only because of the way they look to our eyes, but also because of the impression they leave on us – the way they make us feel and react.  It is not just about looking beautiful – it is about being beautiful.

And then I thought about people I know who I believe are beautiful – those that come to mind immediately are of course beautiful on the outside – but not anything out of the ordinary – they are average in looks – but they are outstanding in beauty on the inside.

Let me describe them to you.

She always smiles and is positive.  Any time she is asked for assistance she responds with enthusiasm.  She is smart and insightful and cares about advocating for the needs of the poor.  She has told me that sometimes she has to “act” positive when she doesn’t feel like it and so she works at keeping her attitude positive which is so outstanding.  She exudes positive energy and is someone so easy to be with and to work with.  She is truly a beautiful person.

He never talks about people in a negative tone but always looks on their best side and chooses to give the benefit of the doubt.  You know that if he does that for others he will do that for you.  He is a beautiful person.

She was not born with a beautiful body although she is very attractive .  She is not afraid to step into the swimming pool baring her imperfect body.  She does not worry that others will look at her as less than perfect.  Her confidence exudes and you know she believes that her beauty lies in who she is and not the physical aspects of her body.  I wish I was like that – I think she is beautiful.

He cries when he knows others are hurting and he wants to do something about it.  He always drops change into the baseball cap held by the man on the street with the sign that says “homeless – please help”.  He stops to speak to them and looks them in the eye recognizing them for their humanity.  He is a beautiful person.

He lives on government assistance because he is not able to work due to health issues. He has so little to live on himself but yet he sponsored six World Vision children because he wanted to make sure they had opportunities like clean water, schooling, and food.  He was considered a “major donor” at World Vision – and yet he had barely enough to cover his expenses.  So many of us sponsor one child and feel we have done enough.  He has a tender heart and acted for the good of others.  He is a beautiful person.

I could continue on – these are all people I know – they are not glamourous by any means – but they exude beauty.  For each of them beauty is a manner of being  – not a manner of looking.  Humans look on the outward appearance and judge, but God looks at the heart – and that is where true beauty lies.

I think of Mother Teresa, a very small little woman but what a mighty force she was.  Each wrinkle on her face is etched deep because of her smiles and her tears – each wrinkle an indicator of the life of beauty she lived.  Her words as seen below point to a heart of beauty – and she set an example for us to follow.

“Let us always meet each other with a smile,  for the smile is the beginning of love.” 

“Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.”

“Our life of poverty is as necessary as the work itself. Only in heaven will we see how much we owe to the poor for helping us to love God better because of them.” 

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” 

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” 

“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” 

Mother Teresa

I want to always remember as I continue to live life that looking beautiful is not what true beauty is.  Beauty is a manner of being – I hope we can all – both men and women alike – work at being beautiful – in all our thoughts, deeds and interactions.

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