We place great emphasis on a narrow idea of physical beauty.
In an American history discussion group, the professor was trying to explain how, throughout history, the concept of “beauty” changes with time. “For example,” he said, “take the 1921 Miss America. She stood five-foot-one inch tall, weighed 108 pounds and sported a 30-inch bust, a 25-inch waist and 32-inch hips. How do you think she’d do in today’s version of the contest?”
The class fell silent for a moment. Then one student piped up, “Not very well.”
“Why is that?” asked the professor.
“For one thing,” the student pointed out, “she’d be way too old.”
Good point — she’d be way too old. But beauty is a peculiar thing, for it means something a little different to each of us. And it isn’t always about appearance. Sometimes beauty is a quality that softly shines from inner depths. And you may actually radiate more inner beauty than you realize.
An elderly woman noticed that her granddaughter felt embarrassed by her freckles. “I love your freckles,” she said, kneeling beside the girl and admiring her face.
“Not me,” the child replied.
“Well, when I was a little girl I always wanted freckles,” the grandmother said, tracing her finger across the child’s cheek. “Freckles are beautiful.”
The girl looked up. “Really?”
“Of course,” said her grandmother. “Why just name one thing that’s prettier than freckles.”
The little girl peered into the old woman’s smiling face, aglow with kindness and love. “Wrinkles,” she answered softly.
The physical beauty of youth will fade. But the beauty of a spirit, when nurtured, can grow forever.