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More Than Skin Deep
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News Briefs from The Canadian Christian News Service
The Pastor's Mother and the Usher (HUMOUR)

By Trish West

Standing in line at the grocery store — a magazine headline jumps out at me "...Most Beautiful Woman in the World." Looking at the beautiful face gracing the cover — I start to think how lucky she is to have beautiful skin, long lashes and that wonderful head of hair. I start to compare my freckled complexion, pale short eyelashes and hair pulled back into a ponytail. Feeling discouraged I start to pick apart the photo — convincing myself it's airbrushed, photoshopped and if I had the help of professional makeup and hair stylists… I might look that good too.

Then again…. Sigh….

How quickly 5 short minutes, while in the line at the grocery store, can tear apart your confidence and change how you see yourself in the mirror. How you start to feel insecure or feel less beautiful while comparing yourself to someone you don't even know. It is everywhere you look — this false idea of what is important, what is considered beautiful. Billboards advertising plastic surgery, TV ads boasting quick ways to lose weight and magazines full of glamorous people wearing the 'right thing'.

We worry about how we're seen by others, how we see ourselves in the mirror and find that we are no longer are able to see the person God created …each special in His eyes. We no longer 'see' the beauty that is more than skin deep. The wonder seen by a mother looking at her infant seconds after giving birth, when a husband tells his wife she's beautiful before she's even gotten out of bed or when a child looks to his classmate with a disability and only sees a friend.

Noticing the time, I rush to the school to pick my 4 yr. Old up from kindergarten class…hating that I’m out of breath just crossing the parking lot. In the school yard I'm stopped by mom whose oldest is in the same class and she wants to show off their latest addition. A beautiful baby girl, already dressed to the nines, despite the fact that as a newborn she'll do nothing more than spit up and poop in anything she is wearing. I wipe the sweat collecting on my forehead and wonder how this woman with a 7 week old can look so cool and collected… must be the same genes that allowed her to bounce back into her pre- pregnancy little yoga shorts. Using the excuse that I have groceries in the van that might spoil in this heat — I head to the classroom door to find my son.

The teacher greets me at the door and asks if I have a second, wanting to show me something in the classroom. I wonder what trouble a 4 yr. Old could get into….

uh… let's not go there….

So I followed Mrs B. Into the classroom to see what the situation might be.

"Today in class, we discussed things that might make us happy. Together we wrote down a list of things that made each of the students happy…"

I start to look over the list: Rainbows, cookies, my dog Charlie, going to Disney World this summer, ice-cream sundaes…

"this is your what your son had to add…"

When I look at my mom.

Right then and there - I felt like the most beautiful woman in the world.