Kind. Gentle. Peaceful. Those are some of the most wonderful traits. When they are woven in a person and become intertwined in their soul, it’s more than wonderful, it’s beautiful.
So it was with my Great Granny. It wasn’t so much on the outside, at least not when I knew her, but on the inside. Her wrinkled skin, bobbing head, trembling hands, and even occasionally appearing to chew something that wasn’t there just wasn’t her enamoring factor. Even with that, in advanced age her outside was still just as cute as a button.
On the inside though, she was walala, drop dead gorgeous! She was a family favorite from the time I was a small child until she died my freshman year of college, and for good reason. She was simply a good person, to everyone.
I remember one time when there was a little spider inside her house. Great Granny gently swept the spider into the palm of her hand, walked to the back door and returned it to freedom outside. Honestly, as a small boy I wondered why she didn’t just crush the living crud of it, but instead, she valued it, cared for it, saved it. Interesting!
Even decades later, I still find that interesting, curious, maybe downright perplexing. Her gentleness was even more evident in how she treated people, all people. She had a number of children, my mother’s mother for one, but she also gave birth to a boy who was known back then as “retarded”, or in today’s terms, “special” or “intellectually challenged”. He lived with her until she died. Even when she was frail and could barely get around, she could calm, correct and console him with just a word. No one else could like she could. No one else did.
Once when I was eight or nine years old we stayed at Great Granny’s house. I got up early before anyone else and went to the living room, but dared not turn on the old black and white TV and wake everyone up. Within minutes, Great Granny was up. She slowly walked over to the couch, whispered good morning, kissed me on the cheek and ambled to the kitchen. I watched her make a pot of coffee, begin to fry bacon and scramble eggs.
She noticed I was watching her, smiled, and slowly walked to the living room. She turned on the old TV and after a few minutes adjusting the rabbit ear antennas, she tuned in Bugs Bunny. Bugs Bunny was good, but Bugs had nothing on Great Granny! I kept watching her instead.
She quietly made breakfast for her much younger, able bodied guests, which was everyone else in the house. The smell of bacon and percolating coffee began to wake everyone up. She contently and pleasantly worked like she was a beautiful, royal, Princess, except…older. It was the first time I realized just how beautiful she was, and in fact, she’s still about the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known.
We all know people who are “tens” on the outside, but inwardly, rotten scoundrels. On the other hand, hopefully we all know people who are not considered attractive in society’s view, but absolutely gorgeous on the inside.
Society vastly overvalues outward beauty, and since the invention of TV, more and more emphasis has been placed on it. That’s too bad. It comes at the expense of character, inward beauty and what’s really important. With outward beauty alone, what you see is it. There’s nothing more.
But those with inward beauty endear themselves, deeply endear themselves, and when you think about or mention them, their names rise to the top of the top of the list. In the long run, inward beauty always outlasts outward beauty, and in the end, inward beauty seems to create, form and fashion outward beauty anyway. Oh for the world to have more of the inward, and outward, beauty of Great Granny!
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” I Peter 3:3,4