That word is quite loaded, is it not? I use it quite often, to describe everything from someone's actions on the street, a delicious cheeseburger, to the sunset behind the skyline as we ride the train out to Shea.
Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.
It's easy to say. It's easy to see. It's easy to point out, capture, put down on paper. But it's not so easy to hear. It's not so easy to look in the mirror and recognize. To look at your life, your actions, your accomplishments, and breathe in. In those moments the word grows bigger, more encompassing, more exclusive. It represents icons and sweeping movements and graceful gestures.
All things that in my mind never apply to me. They are too intangible, unattainable, unrecognizable. Which is why, a few weeks ago when one of my dearest and best friends (she says "you only need one" and I'm lucky for having a few, but I think, push comes to shove, she would undoubtedly be enough) told me she and her husband had played a game, had asked each other "Who is the most beautiful person you've met, that you know?" I was interested to hear her answer.
She is surrounded by beautiful people, both in physicality, and in spirit. People who make their livings from being beautiful in some respect. And others who are, well, good. You know the kind. Good. The kind you meet and you feel blessed for knowing; for being a part no matter how small in their lives because you know as they walk this earth, they're leaving goodness in their wake. She is one of those people. And she attracts them to her like fireflies.
I couldn't wait to hear who she had chosen. We share friendships with a lot of these people; in my mind I was already thinking of them all - wondering who had earned this small honor. But when she gave her answer I dismissed it immediately. I laughed at her. I couldn't keep talking with her about it. (Even though later Sam was utterly confused as I had ended it without finding out his curiosity - who did her husband say?!)
Her answer was me. She said I was the most beautiful person she knew.
And immediately I refused to believe that was possible. Couldn't be. She was just being nice. But, see, it's not possible for her to do that. *Just* be nice. It's in her nature to be honest, to be herself.
I didn't react like I should have. And while our conversation was only minutes long, it stuck with me.
After a while my heart filled with thanks to her. I wanted to hug her, to somehow let her know how this small game she told me about really made me feel . . .well, loved. Well-loved. But by then she was gone. Home. Far away. With wishes and promises to be back soon.
I don't think I would ever descrbe myself as beautiful. I don't see myself that way, and I have a hard time imagining that will ever change. I imagine that's what it's like for most of us. We're all little Olives. All baby fat, in our not quite so stylish clothes. Tugging at the hems and making faces in the mirror as we try to stand just right. Feeling a bit normal compared to those around us. A bit ordinary.
But every once in a while someone comes into our lives that doesn't just see the beauty, but brings it out in us. Makes us comfortable in our own skin. Sees us in that moment; not ten years ago, not when we met, not osme moment frozen in memory - but then, exactly. Every time. And finds in us a beauty we can't even see in ourselves. Makes us feel beautiful, and quiets the voice in our head that states otherwise.
She is one of those people for me. I am better when she is around. I smile more, I am more at ease. I try to be better, to be kinder, to be more. When she is around I feel closer to that person I hope to become. I see in her a lot of what I hope to be. She is, undoubtedly, the most wonderful and beautiful person I know. And I think it's a safe bet she always will be.
I don't know if that makes me the most beautiful person she knows. I'm pretty sure it doesn't still. But what I do know is she makes me feel like it. And really, there aren't words enough to thank her.
Or to tell her how very much she is missed.
7 years ago