Tag Archives: beauty

Engage!

It was a few months before my graduation, a little over a year ago now.  I had just finished another one of those Mother-Daughter conversations that daughters can recite with astounding accuracy  – it’s practically scripted.  Truth be told, it has been for generations, but some mothers & daughters get an early escape from it.  We didn’t.

“If you were married, I wouldn’t worry so much.” Continue reading Engage!

An Honest Dandelion

Children are precious, especially when they’re still in the innocent stage of seeing every colorful bloom as a beautiful flower.  For a few years, those plants we invest hours and paychecks in eliminating, known to us as weeds, are bright perky flowers the color of sunshine, a wonderful way to express love.  Best of all, they’re free for the picking! Yes, my mother joyfully received many dandelion bouquets, and she put them in whatever cup or vase she could find for the hours they would last.
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When we grow up, we look back and laugh at those offerings, and we (ok, some of us) try to do better, in keeping with bigger incomes.  Between Mom and I, I’ve become partial to a tea rose that goes from cream/peach at the base to pink on the petal edges.  We know it when we see it, but it escapes accurate definition.  Others I’ve met prefer daisies, orchids, or any of the other varieties florists keep in stock.  Florists have yet to offer dandelions.

My friend and I were talking one day of how she has become desensitized to certain flowers.  They were presented, you see, by men who were being manipulative and hiding their true intentions (and/or tally of current girlfriends).

There’s a metaphor here that goes beyond flora & fauna.  Most of us would rather get a simple and sincere anything – compliment, note, smile – than the most practiced and cultured (and expensive) display of false affections.  An honest dandelion is worth more than an exotic floral arrangement.  Jesus said the same as He took note of a Pharisee and a Tax Collector praying at the temple.

This isn’t to let you fellas off the hook if you really mean to express yourself with fine flowers.  It’s just an answer for why your half-a-paycheck bouquet may find itself on the same shelf with a dixie cup of dandelions.

Relationships: design & distortion

It’s not good for the man to be alone – I will make a helpmeet for him. (Gen 2:18)

DISCLAIMER: Yes, I know there are exceptions, I’ve met several of them. The trend, however, still significantly outweighs the exceptions.
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Guys seem to know this inherently… let a woman get sick, and she’ll hide away under the covers, occasionally coming out to make another cup of tea…. let a man get sick (you know this, ladies!), and he can’t quite reach the remote control that’s laying on the floor beside him – he need only drop his hand from the couch, yet he calls out for his wife. Let death visit a long term marriage, and the widow will more often than not shift into the single life and new (or renewed) interests… the widower, on the other hand, will often remarry in fairly short order. It’s not that he doesn’t miss and grieve for his lost wife, it’s that he’s simply lost without her and flounders until he gets remarried.

We ladies (take note, fellas) also crave companionship – we were designed to respond to, lean into, a partner. We want to share thoughts and projects and dreams and sunsets (maybe a sunrise or two, on special occasions) with someone who is committed to be there for the next one (or at least try). Those who find such a relationship, once, consider themselves very fortunate, and frankly don’t expect to find it again. This is why the widows tend to say “that was good, now for something different”. They have given their whole selves to one man, and it’ll take a lot to find another worthy of a similar gift.

Strangely enough, most people don’t get past the schoolyard mentality when it comes to relationships. The ladies are still anxious to let everyone know that someone regards them as special, and the guys are still blase about the whole thing – “oh her? yeah, we’re together”. Maddening! But it’s so classic that musicals have been written about it – ‘Grease’ comes to mind. Why is that?

Some time after Gen 2:25, the first man & woman made the decision that they should know and decide for themselves what is right and good, without interference from their Creator. We have been on our own ever since, except for those who have gone back to Him for direction. He told the woman, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Gen 3:16). I had long thought this was part of the decreed penalty, but I’m starting to believe it was a simple statement of fact. The world has been jostled from it’s original design (geek translation: there’s now a bug in the system), and this unreserved partnership will never be the same again. The core is still there, the need for a helpmeet, and the need to be needed… but, like all other things, it developed a protective thorny shell. Now we have this crazy denial dance we go through, so that we don’t have to admit to getting our hopes up in case the relationship ends.

Some of us, especially ladies, deny who we are so that we can appear to be what *he* wants. Some of us, especially men, deny the need for another person by juggling two lives – one still single, and one focused on winning *her*. He finds security in his independence, she finds security in belonging. When we get past the honeymoon, or 10th anniversary (depending on how long the mask holds out), we look at each other and wonder what happened to the person we married and who is this stranger? Eden’s scene plays out again: “this woman…it’s her fault”, “I was deceived” (Gen 3:12-13). Women in every generation since have been wary of another deceit, and men wary of a companion they cannot control – both certain that if they let their guard down, something will go wrong. And in the insistence on protecting ourselves by hiding from others, it inevitably does.

What’s the solution? Well, society tells us to keep putting on masks, maybe changing the color or texture from time to time in a frantic attempt to be attractive and fresh. It also gives us ways to pursue independent interests and suggests that we can satisfy some of those companionship needs outside of the Designer’s blueprint. The catch-22 spins around and the marketers profit from leading us through our own shortcomings. We try to emulate the airbrush models that hold his/her attention, while scooping up another magazine or TV show to safely partake in other peoples’ lives as though it were a spectator sport, all the while desiring to know and be known fully in a secure relationship with someone who will not leave on a whim nor take abusive advantage.

God tells us to stop hiding, and find our security in Him, confident that He will guard what is entrusted to Him, and fit persons together to their greatest potential. Take as an example the story of Ruth and Boaz, great-grandparents to Israel’s famed King David, or the tale of Esther, who through circumstances became Queen of Persia and was in the unique position of opportunity to save the Jewish people from genocide. History is full of such pairings that seem to have happened serendipitously, and worked out to great advantage to the couple and/or society as a whole. God has the best view of each life, and knows when & how to best combine two. Go about your days, be real with yourself and others, and trust Him who knows you inside & out.

Death of Pretty

I didn’t write this – and I certainly can’t improve upon it, but it’s more than worth sharing, and so I shall.

The Death of Pretty

It’s an article in the National Catholic Register, but has nothing to do with Catholicism.  It’s a discussion on the difference between “pretty” and “hot”, and our culture’s unfortunate appetite for that which appeals to the baser nature of humans.

I second the motion – let’s bring Pretty back.  Thanks, Mr. Archbold, for an excellent article.

 

…hands, head, heart

The woman who works with her hands
is only a laborer;
the woman who works with her hands and her head
is a craftswoman;
the woman who works with her hands, her head, and her heart
is an artist.

~ St. Francis of Assisi

quote found at http://teachingtuckandty.blogspot.com/2009/08/hands-head-heart.html

Lord, make me an artist.