Fairest of Them All

 In Aging, Autobiography, Facing Reality, Love, Relationships, Seasons, Transition

(I originally wrote this piece on October 8, 2015 – but I never published it until now …)


Five years ago my mirror shattered. Anyone who has ever been truly loved—or who has deeply loved someone else—knows exactly what I am talking about. When I could no longer see my reflection in my Love’s eyes, something in me died as well. That was the last time I felt completely pretty.

When he looked at me, there was always this amazing delight, as if he was seeing the most beautiful woman in the world. And to him, that was who I was. And it was mutual. I have never known such a gorgeous, wonderful man. I hope he could read that light in my eyes until he drew his last breath.

Ever since his passing, I have struggled with my self-image. Does that mean that I totally depended upon how he viewed me? I guess it does. Sine then, even when I get all dressed up, I’m looking for him to give me confirmation, once again, that I am beautiful, wise, amazing. As much as well-meaning family and friends pay me compliments, I don’t have the ability for their affirmation to sink into the deepest parts of my being. It’s not that I feel worthless or anything like that. I know I have value. I have goals and projects that I believe will make the world a better place than I found it. In what I do, I am affirmed.

I wish that were enough. I have even prayed that that would be sufficient, but I find myself glancing in the unexpected mirrors of my life and coming up wanting. And it’s not really even about physical beauty, but it is a combination of all the parts of myself that together make the whole that my Love was able to see and revel in.

The old adage says that, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” I never realized until today that there is a double meaning in that saying. It’s not just that individuals can have very different ideas of what is beautiful. What one finds amazing, another might find mundane. I always got that. What I didn’t understand is that there is no beauty apart from the beholder. We all need someone who sees us in our entirety and not only still loves us, but admires us and wants to spend time with us.

I know this is a picture of God. That is exactly who He is, and how He sees each one of us. I seek His presence daily to get glimpses of myself in His eyes. But it is a splintered picture as it is a challenge to stay in His presence while navigating the realities of living in this world. Having my husband with me on this physical plane was like being in the presence of the love of God every time we thought of one another, or looked into each other’s eyes. My man didn’t distract me from God, but kept me ever turned in His direction. It was the love of God I saw radiating from his face that in turn lit up my own countenance causing my reflection to be radiant, beautiful.

So I pray to be content to get the occasional sunshine beaming from my Creator. For now there is no creation that can fully see me, and I him. If I am to have this again while I am on earth, I will welcome it. If not, I know God’s mercy will fill me with His love every time I turn my eyes toward Him. I know I am beautiful to God, because He created me in His own image. And so are we all.

– Shari


If you liked this blog post … you’ll love “Phoenix!”

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