Actually, what I see when I look at this picture is not the outfit. Okay, I lied -- it's hard to MISS the outfit -- but once I get past that what STICKS with me is the expression on her face. She's just so pleased, and not with the ruffles and bows but with her mom. She always looks at her mommy with so much adoration, it breaks your heart. I'll get back to that in a minute.
Earlier today, when I was listening to 60's rock in the car (my guilty pleasure) I heard an old song by Stevie Wonder where he sings, "Isn't she lovely?" For the first time (and I know I've heard this piece a bajillion times at least) I was struck by that word "lovely", and the fact that its root word is "love." When we say someone looks "lovely", we literally mean that she is "in the manner of love" just as "sweetly" means "in the manner of sweetness." Before you get any more confused, what I'm saying is that when we are acting in love, when we are broadcasting love, when we are "in the manner of love", we are lovely. Whether we're ensconced in ruffles or are carefully made-up or happen to be having an amazing hair day, our true loveliness comes from the love we're showing.
Maeryn loves her mom. Adores her. Looks at no one else the way she gazes at Marijean. And I have to say that my daughter (the mommy in question) has never looked more beautiful in her life than she does right now, as a mother.
What I'm thinking is that if we gaze at the people we love that way, not only will we be our loveliest, but they will, too. And the ultimate expression of that is when we're just plain loving the ultimate parent, our God, our Father. No matter how heinous your outfit or how horrible your hair day, people will look at you and think, isn't she lovely?
That's what we talked about all last weekend on our beauty retreat, which, by the way, was a completely amazing experience and I loved every minute of it. I'll be recapping that in Monday's post, as well as posting a scrapbook of the high points. For now, let's consider how "lovely" you can be between now and then.
*Who could you look at in love that, frankly, you now take for granted?
* What quietly loving thing could you do for somebody who's pretty hard to love? (I just realized that Jesus's first direct reference to love in the Gospel according to Matthew was to say, "Love your enemies.")
* Who would be surprised to hear the words, "I love you," coming from your lips?
Give it a try. Tell us what happens. I think it will be lovely.