Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — “She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes…”
— Lord George Gordon Byron
I first heard the words to Lord Byron’s beautiful poem recited by my father to my mother. My mother was a godly lady of serenity and grace, and my father always said that these words made him think of her.
My parents were “sweethearts” who modeled a loving marriage for over 35 years until my mom was called home to heaven. It gives me great peace to know that I will see them both again someday in eternity. My mother was not only beautiful in appearance, she was also beautiful in conduct and kindness towards everyone around her. She helped to shape my understanding of what it means to be a beautiful person.
In a society obsessed with outer appearance, I’ve learned through the years that true beauty has many definitions and takes many different forms. From the strength and power of tennis champion Serena Williams, to the multi-talented excellence of academy award winner Anne Hathaway, from the sass and spice of Sofia Vergara to the classic clarity of opera diva Renee Fleming and the healthy radiance of First Lady Michelle Obama, true beauty goes so much farther than the mere description of fashion, make-up, hair styles and jewelry.
While we can’t change the fact that, male or female, our outer appearance matters, we can gain a better appreciation for the adornment of our inner character. We can take a different view of beauty. Even Lord Byron’s lovely poem “She Walks in Beauty” ends with: “A mind at peace with all below, a heart whose love is innocent!”
I recently enjoyed the birthday party of my dear friend Sarah. She was shocked as a houseful of friends yelled “surprise” and began to sing. To meet Sarah, you would be surprised to learn that this joyful, pretty, vivacious woman of excellence is 60 years old, and that she and her husband recently welcomed their first grandchild.
What made this birthday party unique was that, in lieu of material gifts, her husband had arranged for guests to write their words of appreciation in a letter to share with Sarah during the celebration.
One by one, people came forward to share how Sarah had blessed them and made a beautiful difference in their lives. There were so many heart-warming stories, of things she had done in simple love and kindness, that it could have filled a book of hope and inspiration. Sarah is truly one of the most beautiful people I know.
Another different view of beauty radiates through my friend and sister musician Katherine. Anyone who has heard her play the piano will agree that they have been in the presence of a great musician. Yet, Katherine has such a gracious air of humility and peace that, upon meeting her, you would never know of the excellent gift of music she carries within her hands, until she sat down to play. Katherine will be moving to be closer to her family. Those of us who know her and have been blessed by her beautiful music will miss her deeply.
I encourage everyone to take a different view of beauty and appreciate the beautiful people in your lives.Jackie Davis is an inspirational vocalist, musician and speaker with over 20 years of television broadcast experience. Her column is published every first, third and fifth Friday of the month. Contact her at email@example.com.