Trying to be Beautiful

Still, on this forgiveness journey, I find myself complaining. Complaining that things aren’t the way I woud have them. Complaining that the school gym really isn’t big enough to hold programs, and not ventilated well enough, and too crowded, and doesn’t anybody in this town see the value in building a community arts center where we could have these programs and there be room for them?

Arriving 35 minutes before the show is still too late to get a seat, and then there are the folks saving seats for others, with bags, jackets and programs spread out across their saving section. This is how it works here. And I ask my husband to just slap me because I can’t get the complaining out of my head. And I remind myself, and he reminds me, that I have big city suburbs expectations and this is small rural town.

The show goes on and my boy shows me his gifts. What a good marcher he is! What a good singer he is! How smart he looks in his outfit with the cummerbund and bow tie! How well he does his little hat dance! The show is all kinds of patriotic and I am struck. One by how stirring it is, and then by how I bristle when it feels nationalistic. The conscientious objector and pascifist in me begins to pray. The kids salute the troops and all I can think of is did they have to show him with a big gun?

Then it strikes me. A remembering of an old wives tale. A boom of baby boys is seen as an omen to the coming of war. I look around and notice that the number of boys exceeds the number of girls in most grades. My youngest son is in a class with 5 girls and 12 boys. The rest of his grade level is similarly lopsided. I say a prayer that this generation will be blessed with peace, that instead of these boys and girls going off to war they will see a great time of peacemaking around the globe.

The show goes on and the pianist plays some transition music, it is “Let there be Peace on Earth (and let it begin with me)”. I wonder why the children didn’t learn and sing this song?

The next day is track and field day. There is a petting zoo of the local high school students 4-H projects. I find my baby with his class at the steer roping display. His face is painted like a little wolf. I take pictures. Next he wants me to see the kittens. This rough and tumble guy just loves kittens, and he keeps asking when we’ll have one.Kittens

I head to the track and see across the field my older boy, lined up for the long jump. He is one of the smaller boys in the field. He gives it his best and falls short every time. I get to the pit to capture the event and he is overjoyed to see me. After each jump he sneaks a little hug for encouragement. He is diappointed when he knows he won’t win or even place. I keep encouraging him. It is a beautiful day.

There is a shift in the events. My boy now has to run. Oh how he dreaded this! The tears spent over this, for weeks. Just do your best son, just do your best. That’s it. And have fun. I set my camera to movie mode and push the button just as the starting shot is fired. Son digs deep and pours his best into. I find myself shouting in disbelief at this boy who was certain he couldn’t do it. “He’s really doing it!”

And he did!

All 50 meters, and well ahead of his competitors! Where was he hiding this drive? He reaches the finish line with arms in air. I’m running after him, cheering. I grab him and lift him up, almost crying with joy that he achieved. He is proud. More pictures. We must document this for dad.

We later learn that he did not win any ribbons. He only won his heat, running against other similarly sized boys. The bottom of the heap, but still seconds ahead of his heat and finishing near the middle of the entire field. But we focus on the personal victory. And my proud boy wants all his friends to see the video of how he won his race.

The complaining comes and goes and I see connections in my life. Bands of resistance that tie me down and direct my focus on the shortcomings instead of the blessings of what is. I am making progress, though sometimes it’s two steps forward and three steps back. I gave one gift of forgiveness last week; I’m working on another.

The neighbor’s sugar maple tree reminds me that Spring has it’s own strange way of moving forward and back as the red leaf buds turned into brown clumps, and I have just seen that the brown clumps are being replaced by lush green leaves. I feel the same way.

I awaken with beauty in forgiveness, turn ugly with complaining, let that ugliness fall away and I am made beautiful again.

How hard it is to be beautiful all the time!

My heart sees the lesson. We know beauty because we know ugly. We know happy because we also know sad. We know joy because we also know grief.

Like in the Godly Play telling of the “Faces of Easter”. The final card has Jesus on the cross on the reverse, and Jesus blessing the bread and cup on the obverse. You can not have one without the other. The two truths can not be separated.

Yet there is till thanks to give for the joys of living these days:

86. Mommy moments of pride and joy

87. Warming weather and windows open at night

88. Internet shopping when it’s hard to get what I need locally

89. Farmer finding bees to repopulate the hive

90. Loads and loads of laundry washed, with a good bit of it folded and put away

91. Reaching out to a few other gals, trying to form a circle of friends

92. Doing the right thing

93. King Hoppy, and his loyal captors subjects

94. Kittens and puppies

95. Saturday baking

96. Good natured joking around

97. A salesclerk who went the extra mile to find that special item

98. Running his best, after crying for not wanting to do it

99. Boys looking forward to Mother’s Day and mom opening the special gift made at school

100. Hugs and kisses from the boys

101. A Mother’s Day bouquet and dinner

102. Mother’s Day birdhouse

103. A good lesson on forgiveness during the children’s moment at church

104. Being able to see: my boys, my flowers, my world

105. The first lightning bug of the season!

Do you have thanks to give? Of course! Share them with the community at

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One Response to Trying to be Beautiful

  1. Hi, Grace! Thank you for visiting. And no, I wasn’t ‘reading your mail.’ 🙂

    I, too, know the joy and pain of watching boys on field day. We’re raising four, and mama feels keenly everything that happens down on that field. I hear you, friend.

    Yes! to #88. Yes! to #96. Yes! for sure to #100 with eager anticipation of seeing #105 for myself around a campfire.

    Happy spring,


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