Now Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom dresses in various sizes hang in my closet, waiting to be re-cycled - mute testimony to my ever-expanding body.
I've learned to not be so obsessed with the state of my body. I believe that Beauty isn't so much a quality of the body and its clothing as of the soul. That loving and being loved depend more on who I am than on what I look like. For me, the quality of the gaze in a person's eyes tells me more about his or her capacity to love than the fabric and cut of his suit or whether she's wearing a real pearl necklace or costume jewelry. Hearts that get a real work-out from loving are more valuable than well-muscled bodies.
Yet the world bases so much of our value on outward appearances. Recently I read a comment on Facebook made by a woman who was so hurt. Her "social sin" is that she has blue eyes. She is a "half-breed," half Native American, or Indigenous, and half white. She posted that she was so upset, so wounded, because an Indigenous woman had screamed at her hostilely "Don't you dare call yourself an Indigenous woman! You have blue eyes!" Yet in many whites' eyes, she is Indigenous, not white, and therefore inferior. She lives in an In-Between world poisoned by much prejudice, accepted here, but not there, by this group but not that group.
In so many cultures the lightness or darkness of your skin decides whether you are accepted or rejected by certain groups. In our culture, one's relative thinness or fatness can affect acceptance, and if you're too thin or too fat, you can be ostracized, especially if you're a teen. I guess today girls even worry about the circumference of their thighs! Why should we teach girls to concentrate on the circumference of their thighs more than on the circumference of their souls?
The question we need to ask ourselves is this: If Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, who is the beholder whose opinion we value?
If the eyes we look into are God's, we know for a fact that God is not looking at the size of our bellies but at the expansiveness of our hearts. God is not asking how well we diet, but how well we die to self and forget our own pleasures to think of other people's needs first.
God thinks all of us are Beautiful. In some mysterious way, God both accepts our biology and uses it to further the destiny of our lives, whether we are a dwarf or are blind or deaf, have Downs syndrome or are born without arms or legs. God thinks all our outsides are just fine. God worries about our capacity to love. That's it. And God's our First and Last Lover, the only One Who beholds who we truly, eternally are.
And if our hearts are full of love, real love finds us. People with Downs syndrome fall in love and get married. Seniors in nursing homes fall in love and get married. People who use wheelchairs fall in love and get married. People can be loved whether they've had strokes or amputations or mastectomies. Better to be one of them than a rich, beautiful movie star or Kardashian sister whose life is a tragedy of multiple romances without substance because for him or her love is based solely on appearances, or popularity, or mutual flattery.
Whatever society thinks, you don't have to be married or in a relationship to be God's Beloved or a True Lover. You can be married to a cause, a mission, a community, an ability to create. As long as you long to bless the world, God is blessing you and blessing the world through you. And in God's eyes, you are Truly Beautiful and Lovedl!
The next time you doubt your lovableness or your beauty because of the state of your body, put yourself into the Presence of the Truth-Teller, the Real Beholder. Listen to God's Voice which reaches inside you, into the depths of your soul: "Ah, you are beautiful, my beloved, ah, you are beautiful.." (The Song of Songs 2: 15). Hug yourself. Believe it. Let God's Love flood you with light so that your light can sit on a hilltop and flood the world with the light of love.
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