Honestly, it seems like this one was possibly the easiest one yet. I decided to not just lay around and let things happen to me. I forced myself to get up and go out for a walk every day- though on the first of those days, I think we made it maybe a quarter of a mile. I stayed hydrated (good for me!), and in my brain-addled state said "yes" to doing another show in the park. In 4 rehearsals. It opens tomorrow. Whoops. In my defense, I thought I was agreeing to play the piano for a show, but they had an actor back out at the last second, so they opted to pre-record the music and I wound up playing Calamity Jane in a little musical revue about the wild women of the West:
Have I mentioned that I don't DO Western, cowgirl, country, hoedowns, or anything of the like?! My mom, the rodeo gal that she is, thinks this is hilarious, and is happily loaning me a pair of swanky cowboy boots.
There is this to be said, I get to work with some wonderfully talented college students (most of which I've had as voice students) AND Maia gets to be in the show too. She's super excited because she has lines for the first time! This proud mama thinks she is doing a fantastic job.
So that's what's going on with me. Now, let me get to the point of what I wanted to write about.
Last Sunday morning, I made it to church on a "dark" weekend. I rolled out of bed relatively early- I hadn't slept well that night, possibly because of all the napping on Saturday. The kids were at grandma's, so I only had to get myself out of the door.
I looked in the mirror at myself and saw this:
I had planned to wear a lovely outfit, with my big ol' hat, and knew that I would look like a movie star by the time I was done in the bathroom that morning. Look good, feel better, right? So, in a moment of snarkiness, I decided to do a before and after picture of my morning routine and throw it on Facebook:
I had 94 "likes" on that picture, and several comments about how I look beautiful and tough, and how brave I am. My friend Julie said, "You just overcame a major hurdle, didn't you? So proud of you!" She hit the nail on the head. I cannot tell you how much I try to hide the ugly side of me from the world. Everything in me wants to look like I have it all together, and that cancer can't make me ugly.
But it does.
So I've been thinking about this whole area of not feeling very pretty lately. I know that beauty is fleeting, and we're all just dust in the wind, etc. I just had hoped my beauty would fade a little slower. In the grand scheme of my life, I really haven't had it that long.
I was kind of an ugly baby...
I was an awkward little kid...
A bit of a goof for a while...
Then things really hit the fan in middle school...
I turned a corner for a while once the braces came off and I got contacts...
But I was such a dork, and contacts were so much work! Look at this one! Matt & I looked our VERY best for this picture:
Argh! I'm dying! Someone once told me that I should take a picture of my outfit every day, because I always wore the weirdest stuff. I am so thankful that Instagram did not exist when I was in high school and college! Please tell me my 20's & 30's were better...
Let's just say 40 was actually a positive turn for me:
Thanks for taking that little trip down memory lane with me. The point is, beauty is an elusive thing. It comes and goes, and it's all such a vain pursuit! (pun intended)
We all have our pretty days and our ugly days. It's just part of being human. Sadly, in the process of killing the cancer cells in my body, chemo has also killed all my hormones. Turns out, estrogen is what make you feel sexy. And I don't anymore.
I was lamenting to the Lord about how I don't feel attractive at all anymore, and the song, "You're Beautiful" by Phil Wickham kept popping into my head. And I thought, "Well, that's not appropriate at all. It's not God calling me beautiful. It's a worship song to Him, and it's not about me at all. Stop being so narcissistic! Sing it back to Him instead!"
Then I remembered this verse.
"So God created mankind in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27and this one:
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2and this one:
"The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7and then the song "Beautiful Things" by Gungor showed up on my playlist.
You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of the dust.Then in my morning Bible study, this paragraph jumped out at me,
You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of us.
"You and I want God to be able to look on us amid our overindulged, self-absorbed culture, then glance to His right and say, 'She has an extraordinary spirit, doesn't she, Son?' Perhaps Christ will nod His head and, while thinking the thoughts of an anxious bridegroom, lean over and say, 'And isn't she beautiful?'" (p. 105)
This, by the way, is how God talks to me. He just dumped out a whole bucketful of love all over me right when I needed it. He does this for all of us, we just have to stop and listen.
Oh, and he used Dustin Hoffman too.
It just so happened that this old interview with Dustin Hoffman about the movie "Tootsie" has been trending on Facebook lately. He talked about having Hollywood makeup and special effects experts turn him into a woman, so he could see if it was believable or not.
“When we got to that point and looked at it on screen, I was shocked that I wasn’t more attractive. I said, ‘Now you have me looking like a woman, now make me a beautiful woman.’ Because I thought I should be beautiful. … And they said to me, ‘That’s as good as it gets.’”