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The Shadow Proves the Sunshine (Beauty)

August 14, 2011

I’m a few days past Friday for this 5-Minute Friday post.  It’s late and the fan in my living is creating a rhythmic hum that might as well rock me to sleep.  I can barely keep my eyes open from a weekend of celebrating and dancing and spreading around love at my friends’ wedding.  But I couldn’t pass up the chance to join up with the Gypsy Mama before the weekend closes.  Her prompt caught my eye: beauty.

Let another 5 minutes of writing without stopping or editing, or even much prep work, begin.


I remember doctor’s offices.  I remember cold steel desks and exam tables and the smell of antiseptics and latex gloves and uncertainty.  I remember the taste of my own tears, my own terrified 16-year-old tears, as I tried to describe what was wrong, what wouldn’t work right, and what I was afraid would never be solved.  I remember kind smiles and reassuring glances, but mostly I just remember the pain of feeling like I was broken.  Something was missing. Something inside of me was put together wrong, and it couldn’t be made right.  At least not in this lifetime.

I gave away so many years of my life paranoid about what I could never have.  I would cry and pray and beg God to put me back together in a way that would make me whole.  In a way that would make me beautiful.  In a way that would make it possible for me to have all the things that I wanted in life.  I prayed He would make me someone new.

Beauty was everything I was not.  Beauty once stood for all the things I didn’t have.  Beautiful meant a completeness this body would never allow me, and a wholeness I didn’t think was possible.  Beauty and pretty were never the same things for me.  Beauty was something deeper – it was the only gift I felt I didn’t have the power to give myself.  Beauty, true beauty, was something only God could give, and for a long time I felt like He kept it from me.  I felt like He held it back and deprived me of it.  My body didn’t work the way I wanted it to and so, so I was not beautiful in the way I wanted to see it.

But here is the glorious secret I am coming to learn.  Here is the softly spoken whisper that prickles in my ear as I grow into my own skin: beauty has nothing to do with the way I see it.  There were times when I looked at myself in the mirror and only saw the voids.  I saw the have-nots, the brokenness, all the things in my life I would have to do without.  I saw something empty, rather than seeing beauty in the work I was doing to fill it.  I saw something missing, rather than seeing everything else that filled in around my “holes.”   I missed the beauty in what I had been given.  I couldn’t see it, but I do now.

I am complete.  I am whole.  I am just as I was meant to be.  Sometimes we need the shadows to prove the sunshine.  (Sometimes we need to acknowledge what we thought was missing in order to find what was always there.)


(Blogger’s honor – sentence in parenthesis was added after my 5 minutes were up.  Forgive me.)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 15, 2011 1:49 pm

    Lauren – you have me in tears at this. Thank you. Your words, the way you speak and write them… it’s so much more than beautiful, but we can start there. It is beautiful.

  2. August 18, 2011 1:58 pm

    “beauty has nothing to do with the way I see it.” That rings of truth. Beauty has nothing to do with the way we see ourselves. Love it. 🙂

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