Saturday, December 17, 2011

And We Return to the Thought of Beauty...

I find myself going back so often to beauty.
It is a concept that everyone is striving for on one level or another.
It surreptitiously creeps into every aspect of our lives.
These little reminders of all the beauty around me always takes me back to ponder my struggles with my physical beauty.
It has really only been within the last few months that I have gotten to the point of truly believing that I am beautiful.
There is one instance from this fall that sticks out in my mind as a reminder to me that I am in fact beautiful.

My church does an end of the summer weekend retreat at a camp down on Canadaigua lake, and I have gone the past two years.

Last year, it was FREEZING the entire weekend. It was about 50 degrees, and windy, and rainy, and we all froze.
Now, the irony is, this year it was SO HOT. It was in the upper 80s the entire weekend, and so humid that you felt like you were swimming through the air.
Good thing the camp is on a lake.
This year, one of the nights we were there, we did a worship service; the entire meeting was filled with song and prayer.
Because I was the resident bassist for the weekend, I was on the stage for the entire night, and had a spot where I would sit when I was not playing.
When I play at a normal church service, I usually make myself look nice. Take the time to shower, do my hair, my makeup, and dress nicely.
Since it was so hot out, we had to scuff away the top sand
so we did not burn our feet... lol
However, since we were at camp, I had been running around playing volleyball, and jumped in the lake just before coming into worship practice. I had no makeup on, my hair was in a messy, wet, dirty, lake-smelling bun, and, since it was camp, I did not care.
The next morning, I was eating breakfast with some wonderful women whom I look up to at my church, and one of them said to me, "I just have to tell you, last night when you were sitting on the stage, I was looking at you and I thought, 'Paige is so beautiful!' and I just thought I should tell you that."
Then, the another woman who was sitting with us piped up with a similar comment.
I was astonished.
How could my dirty, smelly, sweaty, fresh-out-of-the-lake self be anything considered beautiful?
And yet, here were two women only a few years older than me, women that I can only hope to be like when I get a little older, and they were telling me that what I deemed disgusting they saw as beautiful.

That day has stuck out in my mind for the past three months as a reminder to the fact that God has in fact given me an innate beauty that I do not HAVE to try to amplify.
This obviously does not mean that I am going to stop taking care of myself, or that I am going to stop playing with my hair or my makeup, but rather, it gives me hope on the days that I am struggling to view myself as someone worth looking at.
It screams out at me saying, If you are beautiful when you're sitting fresh out of the lake, sweating profusely, with no makeup, then why do you worry so much?
It says to me, You ARE beautiful!
Although it is slow going, I would say that 90 percent of my days, I look in the mirror and am happy with what I see.
And that is a big feat for a 20 year old American girl.

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