This is one of my favorite stories, with Beauty breaking the bonds of Ugly.
Where does our sense of Beauty and Uglyness come from? We’re attracted to gardens over garbage, harmony over dissonance, fair skin over warts. Most of us are drawn to handsome faces of either sex, and we have to work hard to care about the unlovely. I suspect that many broken marriages result from skin-deep attachments, the real persons hidden behind an overlay of beauty.
I have this theory that beauty is a hindrance to personal development. If you don’t have to work hard for acceptance, you’re left with relationships that last only as long as your face remains attractive. When I started high school, I sized up the assorted relational groupings. I knew I’d never be part of the “IN” crowd but was intelligent enough to be a cut above the social dregs. I did have friends. In band, I sat next to John Snyder who played a good baritone horn but smelled of cow dung. (In those days, Sussex County had more cows than people.) Nobly, I befriended a new student who was Black and isolated, but her extreme BO soon became hard to deal with. To my shame, I abandoned her, when I could have suggested how she might keep herself clean. I did make other friends, even among the IN folk, but had to learn relational skills—from scratch—and am the better person for it.
Beauty takes many forms, and caring for people who are “ugly” in their brokenness brings both relational beauty and a touch of joy to both sides. Love, hugs, a listening ear—these are strong, powerful medications for those who suffer ugliness.
The Beast was cured by a kiss. Beauty, however, needed a lot of inner developing before she was able to give that kiss.
How many “Beasts” can you kiss, this week?
Please comment below or via email@example.com. I love hearing your stories!
Just to be opposite: beauty has it’s struggles too. I’ve heard beautiful people complain that being beautiful makes it hard to have “real” friends who really do love you for yourself. And it’s hard to know which is which when trying to make friendships that will last and be good for both. Wouldn’t it be great if “ugly” people took it as their mission to befriend beautiful people with sincerity and good will with no agenda for getting something for nothing. Oh. Did God say something about this?
A good point. I know very few beautiful people, but even attractive people are easy to overlook in this way. I have found, though, that even just a word of gratitude, across the board, pays big dividends in love and joy.
I have spent more than enough time worrying about my appearance. I remember being in my Uncle’s Christian high school that he was running in Rumney, New Hampshire. It was boarding and we had a cook who, to me, looked something like one might see in a horror movie. Each person at the school was assigned a job that needed doing each week in order to save the school money. One rotation was working in the kitchen with the cook. I was really afraid of her and I hoped that I would never pull kitchen duty. However, the day came when I had to work in the kitchen. To my surprise, this lady was so kind and sweet as she showed us workers what to do. She couldn’t do anything about her physical appearance, but her inner beauty shone through so clearly as she instructed us in our jobs. Here I am, now an old lady, needing to lose a few pounds (which may never happen) and your post reminds me that showing the love of Christ, and the fruits of the Spirit, are far more beautiful in the eyes of the receiver than anything I can do to make me look younger or more appealing. I am not suggesting that we become slothful. But I am saying that God shining through a person makes that person beautiful no matter the outward appearance. I also have discovered that most people are just ordinary looking and in need of a little love and consideration.
I didn’t know about your earlier connection with Rumney, but a what a good lesson those years gave you. My horse person, who spent hours and days with us horse-hungry kids, was probably the ugliest woman i’ve ever known, but what a beautiful gift she was to us youngsters. Her mare was named Beauty. : )
We who believe that “the image of God” though marred, is reflected in every human being, are obliged to kiss, respect, honor everyone.
Thanks, Lowell. A good lesson, especially in this time of political infighting.
Hey Ellie, Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite of the fairy tales. I guess I never really thought why before now. I guess it is because Beauty’s love for the beast allowed her to see his heart rather than focus on his outward appearance. Much the same as what God does for us when he looks past all of our sinful ugliness at our hearts when we finally give them to him.
Right on, Kathy! We desperately need a transplant of God’s love and mercy.
My response is quite long so I sent it to you via e-mail as an attachment. Feel free to post any part of it as you wish.
By earthly standards, Mother Teresa may not have been considered physically beautiful, but I can bet she was nothing short of radiant in God’s eyes!
When I was dating, I always made sure to see the person’s heart so that I wasn’t fooled by a good-looking exterior. In my husband, I got both which seems like a huge bonus! But please don’t tell him I think he’s perfect or he might get a big head! Haha!
Love you Ellie! Sue
This whole discussion reminds me of the racial issue. No matter the color or condition of our outward appearance, our interior quality is what really matters. You got that right, early on, Sue! I love you back! 🙂
“I have this theory that beauty is a hindrance to personal development.” I so agree! Early on and evermore the beautiful people (BFs) are favored…and spoiled. I have to work hard to not assume on meeting one that he or she is not shallow, entitled, and clueless, because that stereotype is so often true – but not always! Challenges for all of us.
AMEN, Anne! My observations exactly. A similar problem can be seen with intelligence. Smart does not always equal wise or even commonsensical. We need to take whatever time is needed to explore the depth of any given person’s inner qualities.
After I met my husband and we’d been dating for a while, he shared that he was so thankful that I didn’t seem to mind his crossed eyes and crooked teeth. Ellie, I could see his crossed eyes and crooked teeth, but they were never my focus. On a day-to-day basis, I just don’t see them. I see kind eyes and gentle smile with dimples. I see tender eyes not afraid to cry, and I hear a sweet loving voice when he talks to me. I am thankful he doesn’t see the extra weight I carry, the scars on my body and face from another lifetime. I thank God for placing this man in my life.
Thanks, Martha. A really good way to see ALL people. We also need to speak to the pain that others bear that might be making them unloveable.