Thursday, December 17, 2015

what my son knows about beauty



There we were, sitting in the middle of an expensive jewelry store, just me, my almost-twelve-year-old son, and the fancy ring lady.

My broken engagement ring was on the counter in front of us. The fancy ring lady was helping me decide what to do about it after another salesperson had ditched us for a more lucrative client. I was still feeling the sting of it all when my son noticed the people across from us.

A man and woman sat a few feet a way from us purchasing multiple items. Compared to my ring, they looked like the Crown Jewels. Maybe I'm not supposed to notice that kind of thing. But when my son looked over and said, "Wow. Those are the biggest diamonds I've ever seen," it was impossible not to look and take it all in.

I don't want expensive, giant diamonds. But comparison is a thief, and sitting in the midst of shining carbon glory, my courage wilted a little. I felt small and less special and even a little bit ashamed.

My son saw it happen. He put his arm around me and said, "Your beauty doesn't come from a ring."

If comparison steals our joy, then perspective is the rich uncle who pays the ransom to get it back for us. I had forgotten for that brief moment the way all the best things can never be found in the mirror, on a ring, in a bank account, or under a Christmas tree.

Beauty is as beauty believes. Am I perfect? No. Have I stopped the hands of time on my face? Not exaclty. Did some magic creme or procedure give me back what decades of living a normal life have created? Unfortunately, a negative. Does a big ring or a fancy car or a magazine-worthy house mean I am loved and favored and happier than I would be otherwise? Nope.

But I am a rich and beautiful woman because I have a son who knows the truth and was brave enough to remind me. That's worth more than every diamond Elizabeth Taylor ever dreamed of owning. 
"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'"
- Isaiah 52:7

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise."
-Proverbs 31:30-31
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God."
-Colossians 3:1-3

We held up the magnifying glass to a diamond as the fancy ring lady finished my paperwork. He marveled at the way rainbows of the color spectrum danced inside a rock. I marveled at how fast he is growing up, and how proud I am to be his mom. He's becoming more than I thought he would or could when he was little. I've come to need him as much as he needs me.

When everything was finished, he grabbed my arm and we walked out together.

"Thanks for coming with me. I needed your help today," I said.

"It was interesting. And more fun than I expected, actually. I'm glad I came."

Yep. That pretty much sums up how I feel about parenthood and beauty and life and everything that really matters. Interesting, more fun than I expected, and always glad I came.

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