Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day Twenty - You Are Beautiful and You Are Loved

At a recent trade show, I noticed a young woman in a sea of people that was terribly disfigured.  Her face was swollen and her features were droopy.  Her skin had mottled, purple marks and I assumed this was from perhaps a birth defect.  Instantly I felt pity for her and couldn't tear my eyes away from her.  I watched her for a few minutes and saw her keep her head low and try to hide herself in the crowd.  I was irritated with myself because I couldn't stop staring and I was also disappointed that I felt pity because I was fairly certain that this woman did not want pity from people--at least I wouldn't if it was me.  I was also watching the people who came into contact with her.  They would stare, appear shocked, then hastily turn away.  No one spoke to her and she didn't talk to anyone either.  Just as I was analyzing the situation and uttering a silent prayer for her, she looked up and caught my eye.  I did the same thing everyone else did--I looked away and then was instantly ashamed of myself.  I couldn't bear it any longer; I knew I had to say something.  I pushed my way through a few people and came right up beside the disfigured woman.  When I got closer, I realized she was very young.  I touched her on the shoulder and she turned to me.  I forced myself to look at her and hold her gaze and I said, "You are beautiful, and you are loved."  There was an awkward few seconds, but slowly she formed what I interpreted as a smile (it was difficult to know because her features were distorted) but then, unmistakably, I saw something in her eyes.  There was no mistaking that she was smiling with her eyes.  She uttered an awkward "thank you" then turned and walked away.  I felt she didn't believe me, but as she moved on, she turned to look at me over her shoulder and then - there was no doubting it this time - she smiled.  A wide, beautiful, genuine smile.

I don't know what came over me or why I was so bold to do that--it could have been horrible and I knew that I was risking making her even more uncomfortable, but I imagined that this girl had spent a lifetime avoiding stares, comments, and keeping a distance from other humans.  I had the urge to reach out to her and remind her that beauty is deep inside--we are created in God's likeness and image so she must be beautiful and as God's creation, she most certainly was loved!

"Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work." ~ Mother Teresa 

1 comment:

  1. This is a beautiful story to the testament of the love of God and His grace. So often we don't know what to do in a situation like this, so we do nothing. You spoke one sentence to her that changed the course of her day and maybe her life. Your encounter is prove of how important it is to pay attention to the small details of life because you never know when God is going to use you for His glory. Thanks for sharing this story, it gave me pause to stop and think...what would I do...what should I do? Blessings to you. :)