Beauty in eye of beholder

Published 11:49 pm Friday, March 30, 2012

One pleasant spring evening as a friend and I walked up the church steps, I noticed we had on matching pairs of shoes. When I mentioned it, she laughed. “Bet yours aren’t as old as mine. They’re so comfortable I just keep on wearing them,” she said.

Mine were just as old as hers, but while hers looked almost new, mine were run down on the edge of one of the heels. I lifted my foot to point out another difference in our shoes. One of mine had a little white pebble wedged deeply in the heel. I couldn’t dig it out, but I just kept wearing the shoes.

I thought about how people like me continue wearing favorite shoes and clothing, hardly noticing as those items get frayed and shabby-looking. Just the other day, I glanced in the mirror and noticed that there was a hole in my blouse. I loved to wear that blouse. It was a comfortable cotton/polyester blend that never needed ironing. I think I bought it about 12 years ago.

On the first cool morning in the fall when I step out of bed shivering, I stumble to my closet where my hands fall on my soft, royal blue bathrobe. It was a Christmas gift from the congregation of the first church my husband served. That was in the early 1970s. Well yes, it has a rip or two. But it’s still warm and snuggly. I’ll keep it a while longer.

During the Christmas season when our son was three, he tried on a tan felt cowboy hat at a department store. He didn’t want to take it off. The clerk told him he would mark it so Santa would know exactly the one to put in his pack for him. I stood amazed as he made a long pen stroke on the band. Of course, Santa left it under our tree that Christmas. The excited little cowboy would wear it all day long and take it to bed with him nightly. We had issues every Sunday morning. He didn’t want to take it off when we went to church. He made a dash for his room to grab that hat as soon as we returned home.

He sat on the floor watching his favorite cowboy shows on television with his hat pulled down so far on his head that it made his ears stick out. As time passed, the hat that was engaged in many battles sitting on the head of the Cisco Kid and other heroes of that era began to get crumpled and dirty. It took a lot of effort on my part to dissuade him from wearing it anywhere in public. Just like my cotton/polyester blouse that always looked fine to me, in the eyes of that little boy his hat was still new and beautiful.

I guess there is truth in the old saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.