Points to Ponder: Dance With the Beautiful People
Points to Ponder
Dance With the Beautiful People
I went with my Uncle Bob to hear his band play. Sitting down in front, a beautiful redhead sat down beside me. She struck up a conversation and was quite friendly. She loved to dance, she told me. So when the band got into some polka music, she said, "Does that sound about right?" I said yes. Knowing what she wanted to do, I asked, "You want to dance?" Yes, and so we did. She was a good, experienced dancer. After the program she invited me to have lunch with her.
This beautiful redhead was a delight to meet. She was 86 years old, recently widowed after 60 years of marriage. She and her Army husband had adopted and raised two boys. One had taken his own life. The other died some years ago under tragic circumstances. There is a grandson she sees occasionally, but no other living family close by.
I met this lovely lady at an assisted-living facility. I was taken by her bright countenance and uplifting spirit. Here was a woman who had lost her dear husband (also a great dancer, she told me) and both of her children. Such tragedy, especially the loss of children, can be devastating. Yet, I could not count the number of times her conversation included the refrain, "I am so blessed."
She really meant that. She briefly described to me how her sons had died. But these dark moments in the course of her life were overwhelmed by the light of the overall sense of knowing, "I am so blessed." In speaking of her husband, she concluded several times with, "And he was a Christian." In faith and in practice he knew the Lord, as she described him. The promises of faith in Christ were more than just a future, "I hope so." They were for her the reality of "I know so."
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?...For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:35, 38-39).
This was her attitude, a remarkable thankfulness. She exuded a power from within her soul that comes from knowing the truth that makes you free (John 8:32). And her energy and sincere contentedness drew me in; I wanted to spend time with this lady, to get to know her fascinating life. She had seen a lot of history first-hand. She'd been there and lived it. I wondered how she'd experienced what I only know from textbooks and the History Channel. What wisdom she must have, to have lived through some rough days and yet be so joyful and at peace today.
What can we learn from these beautiful people? Some think that the gorgeous and attractive are on the covers of magazines and in the spotlight. People soak up every detail of their lives as if it mattered. The money, the fame, their equally gorgeous "significant other" (at the moment); inquiring minds want to know about it. I have come to learn that often (though not always) beauty is only skin deep. With time and observation, we find that not only did they fool their fans; they had also deceived themselves. Some who thought themselves as "all that," were not.
She was gorgeous; but was she loved? He was rich; but did he have peace of mind and heart? She drew a crowd with her great looks; but did she have a real friend? He was the envy of many high school boys; but could anyone trust his word? Did his wife feel loved and his kids feel cherished? What price success? What is success?
Go to the beautiful people. You'll know them when you meet them. They may not seem special at first glance; they tend to blend. They have a peace that doesn't demand attention or overwhelm the uniqueness of those around them. Once you engage in conversation, or even just make eye contact from across the room, there is just something within them. Handicaps, scars, or what others may view as a deformity, does not hinder their radiance. Only the superficial eye is distracted by such meaningless differences. These beautiful souls are not hindered, but shine brighter in spite of life's darker experiences. Like a display case in a jewelry store, the trials of their lives are just the black velvet background against which they shine. Precious jewels, these souls.
We often encounter such persons thinking we are the healthy ones. We quietly hope we never "wind up like that." Then, if you're wise, you come away from them realizing they are the healthy ones. And in some ways you envy their peace. Despite obstacles they have it. Do you?
"Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship of Clear Spring, MD. These articles (and sermons) are also found at www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am.