Thursday, December 22, 2011

His Mysterious Ways and True Beauty

This is copied from a note I wrote August 23, 2011. I think it needs a broader audience. We all need a reminder of what "true beauty" and "true handsomeness" really is:
 
So, Saturday, I get the latest issue of Guideposts Magazine, but don't even get a quarter-way through. A MPC friend mentions "true beauty" in a post and it sticks with me. I know I'm going to write about that. In God's timing it seems. He had to get busy and lay a little groundwork. See, I thought I knew where this was going. Boy was I wrong! That's where "His Mysterious Ways" enter into the picture.

Last night, August 22, 2011, I actually went to bed thinking about this note. I had various ideas floating in my brain about the beginning and was weeding out the ones that didn't work. Then it happened. I went to sleep and dreamed. One of those life-like, realistic to a fault, dreams. One of those dreams that's still vividly on the mind upon waking and it feels like it really happened. I don't get many. But I pay attention to them when I do.

First, before I relate my dream, I'm stage 3b melanoma and have been since July 2008. I'm doing fine. Never had any treatments other than two surgeries to remove all the lymph nodes under my left arm (decided against Interferon), never had any sub-qs. I have traveled, extensively, through cyberspace and am well aware that my world can change at any time and my reality can become the stuff of my dreams...

Last night I dreamed both my arms were full, packed, back-to-back packed, with tumors. Some were truly hideous. Others were mounds under my skin that looked like what I grew up calling "pus bumps," but these were all sub-qs. And I slept. In the wee hours of this morning I had another dream. Not only were my arms covered, but so were both legs and my back. I was with my 30 year old daughter in a doctor's office. A woman resident was in there with us. She was looking at a chart, my daughter and I were talking and I was showing her all my tumors. The ones on my back and legs were all sub-qs. Nothing hideous like on my arms, but again, there wasn't a square half inch that wasn't filled with them. I was telling Jessica, my child, that I couldn't get rid of them, obviously, there were just far too many, and that with no insurance this was the way it would be. And I felt fear. I knew what this meant. Death was closing in and I felt scared and helpless...without insurance there was no way to fight these tumors that were literally everywhere on my arms, legs, and back. And this resident started talking to me. And I slept until Buddy Dog barked.

So, I get up and while my coffee perks, I go back to that Guideposts. My favorite part of that magazine is a regular feature, Mysterious Ways: More Than Coincidence, and I read it and realize I'm experiencing one of God's mysterious ways when it comes to this note. The knowledge that "true beauty" needs to be tackled, not having time to get to it right away, my dreams vs my reality, and now, a better understanding of what I'm to write. An understanding I didn't possess before those dreams. Last night.

True beauty is understanding life is a gift and fighting for that gift with every ounce and fiber of your being and if it means being filled with tumors, then so be it. You're filled with tumors. And, you're beautiful. If it means pursuing every IV treatment option and/or radiation and going bald, whether you're a man or woman, then so be it. You're bald, you've lost that so-called "crowning glory" of stuff we lovingly call "hair." And. you're beautiful. If it means losing chunks of flesh to get rid of tumors that seek to kill and destroy, then so be it. You're missing flesh and scarred. And, you're beautiful.

Whatever mark of grace you live with and carry with you that shows the world you're a fighter and you're fighting to hang on to the most precious gift God can give you this side of salvation and Heaven, life, makes you truly beautiful. The people of the world may see one thing; they may see "bald," they may see "scar," they may see "tumor," they may see whatever it is your reality is and think they're seeing ...what? Ugly? Something they couldn't do? Something they would "never" do? Something that should be hidden? Something that should keep you sequestered away inside? They are seeing true beauty in action and don't know it! They are missing a lesson that they will need one day and don't know it!

True beauty is an inner quality of grace and love that conquers the fears and doubts that accompany the tumors, scars, and baldness. True beauty is character that cannot be bought, doesn't come in a bottle, can't be applied to the skin to give an outward beauty that will fade. True beauty doesn't come from a tan, the sun, a catalog. True beauty isn't a commodity, not a degree displaying intelligence, not a packaged make-up, not designer clothes or name brand anything, not a body fed organic foods and fit through exercise. True beauty doesn't have six-pack abs and a drop-dead figure. True beauty doesn't have gorgeous hair, white teeth, and bright eyes.

True beauty often has puffy, blood-shot eyes from crying; hair that's stringy or gone; clothes that don't fit anymore; maturity that's ageless; and strength that's priceless. True beauty is what God's eyes see. Why can't our eyes cut through the outer garbage? Why can't we partake of the beauty of the fighting spirit and appreciate it and want it ourselves? Why do we pay for "beauty" and think we're "truly" beautiful or handsome? Why are our values so upside down and shallow?

Deep-down beauty is just that...deep-down. It's not superficial, shallow, and out in the open that the eye sees and labels "beautiful." Deep-down beauty doesn't fade. The day will come when all the make-up and plastic surgery in the world will make a person look more like a living joke than "beautiful." The day will come when that beautiful bronze tan will make a person look like living leather and possibly prove fatal.

Deep-down beauty holds the bald head high, shows the scars, fights the fight, and knows that life is worth living. Nothing worth having is cheap. Nothing worth holding onto will be kept without work and a fight. Nothing worth fighting for will be an easy fight without battle scars.

And those battle scars are the marks of true beauty. God's idea of beauty. At the end of the day, who's idea of beauty really matters, after all?

If you're reading this, maybe you've been touched by that which seeks to kill and destroy. Maybe you've got battle scars. Don't hide them or be ashamed of them. Deal with them in the knowledge that...

You are truly and magnificently

BEAUTIFUL!

And I am grateful for you just the way you are!