Unfading Beauty

Deep calls to deep

    in the roar of your waterfalls;

all your waves and breakers

    have swept over me.


 By day the Lord directs his love,

    at night his song is with me—

    a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalm 42: 7,8)


Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, 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. (1Peter 3: 3-4)


I’ve been staying at a friend’s cottage, looking after her two fluffy cats, while she’s off setting the Academic World on fire by presenting her research.  I can barely call this place a ‘cottage’; even though that’s what she calls it.  It’s a Lake House and is bigger and more well appointed than my home in the ‘burbs.  Which is a good thing.  I’m not a camper and I really like my indoor plumbing!  The other morning, I drank my coffee (still in my pjs and with terrible bed-head) out on their deck overlooking the water.  It was an incredibly still morning.  The sun was out, and there were loons calling to each other across the water.  Then, in the clearing on the shore across the lake, a deer and a fawn wandered down to the edge and the three of us had our breakfast together.


I was momentarily breathless, it was so beautiful.  It was like we were sharing a sacrament together.  Holy communion with coffee and lake water.


Then I got bit by a black fly and the moment was gone.


As I went back into the cottage to get on with my day I caught a glimpse of myself in the full-length mirror.  This moment of breathlessness was out of horror rather than a sense of holiness.  Where did this dumpy old person come from?  When did my face get so jowly and lumpy?  Why on earth are my eyes so squinty and baggy?  Why on earth did I sleep in ripped jammies and a stained t-shirt?


The fleeting, on the deck holiness was quickly lost in my own sense of inadequacy.


And yet, when I really think, what does it mean to be beautiful?  I know; well, intellectually I guess, that beauty is again a construct of our social expectations, and not a measure of who we actually are.  I also know that I have no idea how old the deer were that were sharing communion with me on the deck, or even if they had fleas and ticks if I got close to them.  I just know that that moment was beautiful.  That moment was perfect.  That moment was holy.


And frankly, in that moment, I didn’t care what I looked like or how I dressed.


So, I wonder today, my Bethel friends, how we can all get a grip on the ‘unfading beauty’ that is talked about in 1 Peter?  How can we grasp onto these holy moments and claim them for ourselves – regardless of the stained t-shirts or baggy eyes.  Because, I’m kinda thinking that that’s a bit of what it means to honour God’s creation.


You see, if we believe that we are truly created by God, and if we believe that God knows what God is doing with creating stuff, and loves creation then our beauty is something more.  Something different.  Something Holy.


Something that means you share communion with deer when you have bed head and old jammies.


Something that means that you share you whole life, baggy eyes and all, with the people around you, as if you are sharing communion.


Let your deep call to deep, my dear friends.

Blessings today and remember you are Loved.

~Rev. Lynne

3 thoughts on “Unfading Beauty”

  1. Your beautiful words touched my soul today and also your kind birthday greetings on my phone voice mail. I just returned from a birthday (79) lunch at The Red Fox restaurant with “the girls”, the youngest being 76. I truly have been so blessed over the years, with such amazing moments like you just experienced at the ‘cottage’. As long as I don’t look in the mirror, I am still a young woman, dancer, majorette, wife, and mother, etc. It is all life’s experiences that have made me who I am today, the good, the bad, the painful and the joy. I truly have lived a blessed life. I know that we don’t talk very much, but, you have always made me feel so much at home in your presence and within the Bethel family. You have such a gift to make others feel so comfortable and totally at ease around you. You are a blessing to everyone. Keep well and enjoy this day; the smell of the rain, the green of nature, the peace of heaven and earth and the blessings of friends.
    Hugs and love,
    Shirley O

  2. I’ve had a few those moments both the in the moment holy ones, but those where I have a hard time coming to terms with my physical appearance. For me, it’s always been about my hair. That said, when need to focus on the care of others, it doesn’t matter what it looks like – the length, the colour, the neatness etc. I think it is fine to care for our appearance but for it not to be an obsession and to be able to let it go to put others first. I do believe though, If one feels good about themselves, it helps one’s spirit.


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