There’s a lot of talk these days about redefining beauty to include people who don’t look like supermodels. And more of an emphasis on inner beauty, as indicated by the number of FB posts of people with some kind of physical defect. (“Like” if you agree! Ignore if you’re a terrible person.)
I’m all for focusing on inner beauty, but this tactic is problematic because, by definition, inner beauty is not something that you can see in a picture. I guess we’re supposed to infer that the person is beautiful on the inside, but that doesn’t tell us what inner beauty actually “looks” like. So I’ve been thinking about people who exemplify inner beauty to me.
When I was in grad school I met this guy who had a cappuccino cart in the hotel lobby where I was on vacation. This was the era before Starbucks, so I had never heard of a cappuccino. He was thrilled to tell me what it was, how it’s made, and what makes it so great. After that, I bought a cappuccino every day while I was there. And it tasted that much better because of how much he enjoyed making them. I thought it was a thing of beauty to see someone who loved their job that much.
I don’t remember what he looked like.
I had a similar experience once while I was picking up a package at the post office, which always annoys me. There was a long line, too. But the woman behind the counter seemed so happy to give everyone their packages that I couldn’t help but smile. I don’t think it was because she loved her job like Mr. Cappuccino; I think that’s just who she was. And there is something beautiful about someone who can be happy, regardless of what they’re doing.
I don’t remember what she looked like, either.
When I was depressed 5 years ago, I had 2 friends who called me every day to check on me. Ordinarily I can talk up a storm, but I didn’t have a whole lot to say when all I had done that day was lie on the couch and will myself to exist. I don’t remember what we talked about, but I remember that they were there for me.
When I was depressed back in December, I hardly saw anyone because tennis season was over, I was off for winter break, and everyone was busy preparing for the holidays. Once again, I had one friend who checked on me regularly, even though she didn’t really know me that well at the time. Occasionally I would venture out of the house and we would see a movie or have dinner. If it weren’t for her, I could have easily gone weeks without any human interaction.
I am blessed to have such beautiful friends.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes you have to be there to fully appreciate what it means to be in the presence of beauty.