Sunday, August 9, 2015

In Honor of Beauty

     What I know about beauty, I have learned from watching her.

      I know her voice better than probably any other sound in the world. I have been called many names, but nothing sounds as sweet as the way "Jahr-dan" sounds when she calls. In a crowded room, I could easily find her with one word.

      I remember her telling me about riding her horse as a little girl from her parents' home to her brother's. She would do tricks on the horse, and I am pretty sure she is partially responsible for my taste for adventure.

      Her home has never been remodeled, and stepping inside is a little bit like stepping into the seventies. That's ok, though. In a world of constant change, she is a constant, and she does not change.

       Rather, she is home base. No matter how many of her chicks have left the nest or how far away we have flown, we always come back. Something about the soft lighting, the shag carpet, and the slightly warm temperature inside reminds me there is a safe place to land, even when the world may seem unsafe.

      When life is unsure, and I know prayer is needed, she is the one I call. There is safety in knowing when your voice is heard, and there is a peace knowing someone cares enough to take your burdens as their own. She is that safety. She is an instrument of peace.

      She is one of those delicate pieces of china, like the gravy dish I was never allowed to touch in the cabinet. You want to preserve and protect her, treat her carefully so nothing will break her, because she is needed. She turns the simple into the magical, creates an added element of something special, and a room without her feels her absence.

      Her tears are legendary. I have always marveled at how easily they could flow, and I have always been a little jealous. But in a time where we fight so hard to keep away from the vulnerable, she remains soft. She allows herself to feel.

      Not that she is emotional and allows those feelings to run wild. On the contrary, she is a mystery. Only those who truly know can sometimes detect her genuine feelings. But when she cares, you know.

      And she cares... for the ones who have lost family members, she makes sure they have meals. When someone is hurting, she sends a card. For the little ones on the other side of the world she has never met, she prays.

       Her beauty could never be bought in a bottle. Oh no, we could never afford it.

       Yet her foundation comes from a lifetime spent pouring into others... her students, her family, her friends.

        Her cheeks blush with laughter, as she is happiest when she is with the ones she loves.

        Her eyes are lined with wisdom, shadowed by the years of experience. Life has been beautiful, painful, sometimes all at once, and she has survived.

       Her lips are colored with prayers, with praises, with words of encouragement, and sometimes a little bit of dry humor.

         Her hands are my favorite... wrinkled from years of soothing tears, holding close, playing piano, folding in prayer, driving to doctor appointments and school functions.

         I don't want to be a part of the world where age is feared and wrinkles are to be smoothed away with knives and poison.

        Rather, I want to be a woman like her. I want to make the room a little brighter, the people around me better.

        I want to love, honor, extend grace, and fight as she has done. I don't want to leave a doubt in anyone's mind... stranger or family, that they are loved and valued.

        And today, on her 88th birthday, I want to honor her. My Grannie. You are loved, and you are blessed.

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