Borrowed beauty: seeing beyond the surface


By Betty Slade

PREVIEW Columnist

I told my Sweet Al that I had an idea for my next article. It starts out, “She is covered with cracks and craters. Dark and light spots outline her imperfections which accentuate the scars on her face. She has no known beauty except that which is borrowed.”

He sat up and asked if I was talking about someone he knew in high school. He recalled a friend’s girlfriend who some said wasn’t attractive. His friend had a deep love for her which gave her a unique glow.

“Why would anyone say she wasn’t beautiful? She has so much going for her. Why are we so programmed to look at each other on the surface?” His friend certainly didn’t see anything other than a true beauty.

“Al, get a grip! I was talking about the moon.” Oddly enough, his flashback and my stargazing proved we were actually on the same page.

Ever stop and think about how we see one another, or even how we view ourselves? We shudder to find that we have a blemish just before we enter an important meeting. A bad hair morning can ruin an entire day. Forget flipping through any current magazine. Not a one of us dresses right or has the right body structure. How did we become so shallow?

In fairness, one look in the mirror and we see that life has taken its toll on all of us. A best day is always followed by one not so great. Actions from our youth bring about scars and deep lines as we age. Even the fadeless beauty knows internal pains that prove none of us are exempt from life.

Like many of life’s lessons, there is a great deal that we can learn from nature. Take the moon, for instance. It is known for its many dormant volcanoes that once produced layers of lava. Its surface is a composite of highlands, deep caverns and wide trenches. If we could see it up close and personal, we would probably judge it for its absence of pristine and lush landscaping.

That was not the case just a couple of weeks ago. We were recently treated to a spectacular view of the last full moon of winter. I didn’t see it as a desolate lunar wasteland pitted by meteor strikes, but as a beautiful beacon that lit up the heavens. A light not generated by itself, but a reflection of borrowed light from the sun.

I marveled at the grandeur as I contemplated my own shallowness. How many times have I looked at someone on the surface, instead of seeing them in a more glowing light. It makes me wonder how many times I have been viewed for solely who I see in the mirror, instead of the light that I could be to others?

Final brushstroke: We can see ourselves or even others as flawed or riddled with imperfections. But, there is something far more important. Ephesians 5:8 states, “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.” Only when the moon reflects the sun do we see it in all its splendor. Likewise, it is only when we turn to the face of God that we are seen as radiant children of light.

Readers’ comments

“Betty: Your March 28, 2019 column was beautiful and moving. Oh, that more married couples could write the same. Thank you. TS”

“Dear Betty … oh how your words and heart touched mine this morn! … I always enjoy your writing, but this brought tears to my eyes and recognition to my soul … bless you for your honesty and compassion … big hugs to you and your precious Al. SJ, fellow Pagosa artist, summers now.”