Beauty in Pain

(Katie, one of my daughters, and I went to a coffee shop. She brought her art pad. I brought my Ipad. We played a game. We each wrote a random topic..…mine for her to draw: “A dandelion kissing the wind while hearing a butterfly sing” and hers for me to write about: “I heard someone say, ‘Learn it young — beauty is pain’”. This is our combined work over two hot cups of coffee.)

My daughter recently heard someone say, “Learn it young — beauty is pain”.

In some ways today, that seems true for outward beauty. It’s kind of funny, kind of sad, how many ladies go through pain to try to be beautiful.

Some starve themselves just to be able to squeeze into a pair of skinny jeans and end up looking more sickly than healthy. Even after a four-day fast, they still have to lay on the bed just to zip up their pants anyway, and then later, use a can opener to get them off. That’s pain, that’s not beauty.

Nor is beauty wearing enough make up to look like a Comanche war chief! Years ago I dropped off something at a friend’s house on a Saturday morning. His wife answered the door. I immediately apologized because I thought had gone to the wrong house! It wasn’t. She just hadn’t put on her war paint that day! I’ve seen rodeo clowns wear less make up! Years of “beauty pain” from makeup had destroyed her skin to where she was unrecognizable without it. How sad! What she thought helped, hurt.

A lot of men buy into this now too. Go to any gym and see how many men are using dumbbells to try to prove themselves strong, fit or somehow superior to others. That’s always been the case, but an interesting phenomenon has developed with men the last few years. More and more men take armfuls of clothes in a dressing room to find “just the right fit” for a pair of pants or style of shirt.

Personally, I find more pleasure in a Dentist’s drill than shopping for clothes! I just scratch my head and say, “Come on, dude! Just pick a pair and go do something fun!” If the guy wants to get something nice, go buy some denim jeans, with no holes, and grab five plaid shirts of the same size and brand. Shazam! You’ve got a wardrobe for a year!

Boil down any good fashion guru’s ‘Wear This And Not That’ advice and you get three simple points. 1) Wear clothes or you go to jail. 2) How you wear clothes is more important than what you wear. 3) And — pay attention because this is important — Buy one of the three basic colors and you’ve got all the bases covered for all events! Buy paisley, plaid or camo! Pair that with old jeans for work, new jeans for church, weddings and funerals, then one pair of work boots and a pair of boots not yet worn to work!

See how easy that is Mr. or Miss Try A Dozen Different Pair of Pants On To See If They Make Your Bottom Look Big fellow? And besides, if you have to ask if pants make your bottom look big, then it’s a safe bet the pants ain’t your problem! Can I get an amen?! Or oh me?!

In reality, who cares? Really. Who cares? People care so much about what other people think about them. In reality, if they knew how little people actually thought about them, they would be completely liberated!

Beauty is not in clothes, hair styles or muscles. It’s not in shoes, shirts or skinny jeans. It’s not in plucking eye brows, sunburns for a tan, waxing or duct taping your chest hair off. Maybe it sounds shallow, but beauty, true beauty anyway, is deeper than that.

There is truth in what my daughter heard, “beauty is pain”.

Pain, inward, agonizing, hurtful pain of the heart can help develop beauty. Kind people usually get their feelings hurt easily. Merciful people have usually experienced deep agony of the soul at some point. Compassion is often developed out of deep grief….not always, but more often than not.

Pain of the heart, loneliness, loss, anguish of the soul that no one sees, or may care to see, gives the spirit a springboard to move more to a kind, compassionate heart. Again, not always, for some may hold onto their hurt.  Some let their pain and anger fester and grow into a mean, controlling, bitter spirit that destroys themselves and causes others pain.

But the person who releases the pain, the person who lets it go, that person can turn the pain into an inviting, warm, comforting heart. Their beauty, borne straight from pain, has deep roots. Kindness becomes king. Gentleness becomes queen. Hope and peace become the royal children.

Maybe, “Learn it young — beauty is pain” is true.

Got pain? Don’t let it go to waste. Let the crushing power of pain bring the sweet smell of roses from your petals. Let it become a dandelion kissing the wind while hearing a butterfly sing. Let the anguish of the heart open your spirit so others can see. Let loss, loneliness and grief change you. Let the hardest places of your heart become a soft place for others to land. Don’t waste pain. It can create beauty, from the inside out.

A Dandelion Kissing the Wind While Hearing a Butterfly Sing

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