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I saw something so beautiful this morning.

September 12, 2009

I don’t have a picture, and I’m happy about that. The beauty had more to do with the heart than anything else. It was the kind of beauty that brings tears to your eyes. The kind of beauty that I wish I could bottle and save and share with my children every minute of every single day. The kind of beauty that truly matters in the world. The kind of beauty that I want to teach my daughter to feel and aspire to as she grows up amongst all that is crazy and physically focused in this society that we’re a part of.

I went to Barnes and Noble this morning with only Nicholas in tow. That alone is a treasure. I headed to get a cup of coffee at the Starbucks and as I waited in line for my drink, I saw a face mask on someone out of the corner of my eye Then I saw a big container of purex on the table in front of the woman.

Internally, I rolled my eyes. I judged and started ruminating about people who are freaking out about H1N1 and how people just take things too far. Then I stopped myself. Took a deep breath. What on earth does it matter to me? I certainly don’t want to fill my mind with nonsense judging of others who are doing absolutely no harm in the world.

So I stopped and looked again at the woman. My heart dropped. I had noticed the mask. I had noticed the hand sanitizer.

I hadn’t noticed her hat. I hadn’t noticed the tiny wisps of hair sticking out from under her hat that were clearly the last few wisps on her head. I hadn’t noticed the slowness with which she picked up her mug. At that moment – and it couldn’t have passed in any more than a few seconds – she smiled at the man sitting next to her. Not just a smile, but a grinning, laughing light-up-your eyes beaming smile that showed so much love for whomever that man was. A husband? A friend? I will never know.

I do know, though, that as I judged her and then noticed the signs that she was clearly sick and most like having some sort of treatment, she was out in the world living her life above and beyond sickness. Having a cup of coffee or tea with someone who can make her grin from ear to ear.

I’ll never know who she was, why she was there or what happened to make her grin so largely behind a facemask that I could see it clearly on the rest of her face. But I am so thankful that she was there and that I witnessed such a fleeting moment. I can only wish that I could spend even one small moment of my life radiating such pure beauty and grace in the world.

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