When I see her at the window, tucking her hair behind her ear, like she’s hoping she can hear her reflection whisper some assurance — that’s when I wander:
Maybe it’s hogwash, to keep saying that looks don’t matter?
Maybe we all need to just stop saying it?
Maybe I should lean in close so she can hear what keeps echoing in the chambers of one old woman?
It’s a busted up world: What shouldn’t matters too often does, and what should matters, too often doesn’t.
Because despite what my grandmother said while I stood in front of the mirror popping zits and wishing for a Roman nose that would surrender it’s noticeable boniness to beauty?
The truth is? Whoever has a pretty face, pretty much gets treated better by teachers, and classmates and waiters —and even mothers favor their prettier babies. Truth is, the beautiful earn $230,000 more over their lifetime than the less attractive. Truth is?
I want to ask her: You be brave and go ahead and tell me, and then I’ll tell you: How many beautiful souls have you missed, because you didn’t want to miss being with beautiful faces?
How many times have you looked past Jesus, because you were looking past women with soft, rounding middles, men with middle age paunches and pens leaking in wrinkled shirt pockets?
How many first rate stories and wonder and glory have we missed because we didn’t take a second look, ask another question of the unique and the singular, the worn and the one-of-a-kind?
How much love gets missed because people are looking at looks?
I want to take a few folk by the shoulders, find their eyes and ask it like you could lay your hand upon a soul: How many have us have you missed out on, because we don’t look like Hollywood would like, because we’re in mom jeans and 80’s hair and glasses we’ve been wearing for the last ten years, because we wouldn’t look right in anything from Anthropologie or Free People or Forever 21 because we’re forever aging and greying and sagging and this is not a thing to be ashamed of because we know we are becoming Real.
It’s true, we may not have chosen this face or this mind or this hard road, and maybe we wouldn’t have chosen this baggage or this past or this thorn in the bruising flesh. But those of us who look a bit more weathered by the way — may know a better way. A way with wider vistas and deeper authenticity and greater kindness.The symmetry of someone’s face doesn’t indicate the suppleness of their soul.
Who came up with the toxic lie that the beautiful souls are only housed in size two bodies with porcelain faces and bleach blonde locks?
Who said wisdom’s only found in those who are easy on the eyes instead of those who have walked hard roads?
Who decided only the brilliant should be chosen for anything — when it’s the light that blazes from hearts that changes everything.
Those with slick tongues aren’t the best people to listen to any more than trendy singles are the best music to listen to, and those with attractive faces may not be the best fit your soul any more than the trendiest clothes may be the best fit for your middle-aged hips.
When I watch our girl open the windowed door off the porch, walk down the steps, carrying her reflection in the DNA of memory, I wonder if she knows it the easy way you know how to breathe:
Eyes may be biased toward beauty —
but the eyes of the heart can lean toward loving insides more than outsides. Walk like this through the world.
A life bias toward the beautiful is pointless — because the point in life is kindness.
Be more concerned about being thoughtful than being beautiful. This would change the world.
The girl knows. The woman she is becoming knows:
The realest beauty can hide in the most unlikeliest people.
Her and I can hear it all along the beaten backroads rarely taken:
The song of plain sparrows can lead the way home.