i was invited tonight by a fairly new friend to an event titled, “pie, piano & poetry.” the premise is simple: bring a pie and whatever you create to share with the group. it sounds largely intimidating, and felt that way as well. especially as the numbers grew to nearly 20.
i was the second chosen, which threw me off-guard. but as i tend to enjoy the spotlight, and had much encouragement, i quickly came to enjoy sharing. the theme was “throw-back”–share anything from the past–and i brought out a book i wrote and illustrated when i was 10, titled “Janna becomes a princess.” (my best friend back then was Janna Whiteley, and i used her name for many a main character) as i read my story outloud, laughing at my own shallow-10-year-old understanding of the world and human dynamics, i began to feel very free.
at the end, everyone clapped and i realized how importantly foundational writing also has been for me.
later on in our sharing, a woman spoke who is in the midst of a messy divorce. without divulging many of the specifics, she shared her pain and the load she is baring simply in the tears that fell to her cheeks, the silence that portrayed the absence of words in such a time as this.
next to her sat a relatively young woman, vibrant with the life of youth, beautiful and bright and bubbly. she had many words to offer in conversation, great stories written in her own childhood. she was not lacking in anything, except in this moment. she offered what she had to the grieving woman, simple, easy answers that could not even begin to scale the depths of the previous woman’s grief.
i watched this scene play out…the one woman openly grieving, the other offering a sympathy she seemed satisfied to believe was enough.
the younger woman, by all measurable standards, was “beautiful.” vibrancy, youthfulness, liveliness are all to her credit, and i in no means fault her for where she is.
but as i studied the grieving woman…the lines on her face betraying the hard terrain she’s been traveling. the worry behind her eyes, the way she looked away when she sensed she was about to cry, i saw something of another kind of beauty. a deeper beauty that extended far below the surface of hair and skin. a strange immeasurable beauty that draws people to a place of admiration.
gold is always beautiful, or so i’ve heard. even in it’s rawest forms. but it is the beauty that is refined by the fire that is truly something to behold. the beauty i saw in this grieving woman is not just given out to anyone, it is a beauty that is earned.
when Christ was alive, i’m sure those who walked with him felt much like the first girl, excited about life. filled to the brim with joy at feeling such a rich and fulfilling love for the first time ever. bubbling over with a joy they had never known.
but then the crucifixion came, and the dream died. all of life and hope and love seemed to be crucified on that cross. then buried in a tomb. anything they had ever believed would be in their future suddenly wasn’t.
neither place in this walk is superior to the other, but both are part of the same journey.
and it’s nearly 1:30 am so i don’t care if these thoughts are incoherent….