Not everything you see is what you imagine or assume it to be. Sometimes the greatest beauty can be found in the least likely of places. In a world that places so much emphasis on the aesthetics of beauty, how does one see beyond the facade of it all? True, there is beauty everywhere and usually it's the obvious beauty that catches the eye and inspires the soul... after all, who doesn't like something that is pleasing to the eye? It's human nature to gravitate towards the person, the object, the scene that is aesthetically pleasing. It's instinctual, animalistic nature at it's utter core. When a man and a woman are in search for a mate, they tend to initially gravitate towards the one that is most pleasing to the eye but pleasing to the eye doesn't necessarily equate to pleasing of the soul.
Beauty in all its forms fades as time withers away the outward exterior piece by piece but inner beauty can last forever if nurtured.
Could I go on and on with this topic? Yes. Will I? Not today... As tempting as it is to continue the observations I've made over the years of how men and women tend to gravitate towards the visually pleasing, that's not what this particular post is about. This post is about something more profound, something much deeper and meaningful than the manifold attractions men and women have for each other. This is about seeing true beauty in the most unlikely of places.
Last Saturday my son and I went down to Kaka'ako Park with the Entertaining Angels ministry at our church to feed the homeless. I've been slowly getting more active in our church and when I was invited to go help, I jumped at the chance and decided to bring Alaka'i along. Some of you may cringe at the very idea of taking your child near the homeless or in an area where there are homeless and implied danger. I took all of that into consideration before I went but decided to give it a chance regardless. After all, Alaka'i is 11 now and he's at that age where the attitude starts and the "mom I know" rolling of eyes becomes more and more prevalent. As my sweet boy journeys towards being a teenager, the sass factor slowly kicks in and he gets so wrapped up in himself and what he wants that I thought, hey why not let him see the other side of the coin?
Alaka'i was surprisingly excited to go so we went to One Love and met with the awesome group of people who go to feed the homeless. Mind you, I've been going to the church for 2 years on Sundays and only recently began dipping my feet in so to speak and getting busy and active with the church. One of the girls knew Alaka'i from the youth ministry and he being the always outgoing dude he is, took it upon himself to make an introduction so he could get to know everyone there. We followed them in our car a few blocks from our church to Kaka'ako park to feed the homeless. I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't nervous. If it were just me, I would have no problem but this is my baby, my precious son and I was having a moment of regret as we pulled up. Leave it to Alaka'i to wipe my fears away as he got out of the car and immediately poured himself into serving. I was truly humbled by my boy in that very instant... to see him ask what he can do to help, to see him dish up the homeless and needy, to see him engage them and talk to them... It really made me so very proud of my boy.
Why the picture above you ask? Well that beautiful scene is at the waterfront at Kaka'ako Park, mere feet from where there are dozens upon dozens of homeless men, women and children huddled up on the sidewalks in tents or under tarps sleeping because they have nowhere else to go. I've actually spoken with people before who had the audacity to say that the homeless ruin the beauty of this waterfront.. Can you imagine that? I was taken aback by that statement when someone told me that while Alaka'i and I were walking around passing plates out to the hungry. It was a tourist so I can kind of understand why they'd think that but I digress.
Mere feet from the photo above were these people, these families, with little children, starving and hungry. It may sound trite but I saw more beauty that day in the faces of the people I met, in the smiles their children had on their faces though they had nothing.. I saw more beauty in the sun and wind battered face of a woman who is struggling to find a home for herself, in the face of a little boy name Brand who laughed and played as if he had not a care in the world despite the fact that he had sores on his legs that hurt to look at. No person, no human, no child deserves to live in such circumstances.
Lucky we live in Hawai'i where the weather is consistently warm. It warmed my heart to see my son eager to play with the kids, to help teach them how to make a lei out of paper, string and beads. It blessed me so much to meet these people and see their smiling faces as we dished them up. To hear their stories, to see their kindness and their souls so eager for nourishment for the body and the spirit. To see people so receptive to God, to see them shocked when we told them to come to church as they are, that they would be welcomed and not judged. The gift of giving is more a selfish thing for me now because I feel like I'm the one that truly gained something that day. Stereotypes and assumptions are often wrong. My son and I walking with a few brothers and sisters from church, went down the sidewalk where there were tents for many of the people who didn't come to eat, a place I would have avoided in fear prior to this day. We were welcomed with gratitude and smiles and seeing them eat that food that nourished their bodies and then to pray with them and see tears stream down their faces... To see the Holy Spirit working. It was a truly selfish experience for me because my soul was so greatly blessed that day.
Regardless of what you believe or don't believe, I ask you to try to let go of stereotypes. Just because something or someone isn't aesthetically pleasing doesn't mean that they aren't beautiful. Take some time and lend a hand to those in need, I promise you will feel such gratification that words alone cannot begin to express it. Mere feet from the beautiful beach in the photo above exists some truly beautiful people who are just down on their luck. Where do they exist in your neighborhood? Under different circumstances that could be any one of us. Serving those in need is a truly humbling experience that just blessed my soul.
My son literally begged me to make it a weekly occurrence, man am I lucky to have such an amazing son or what? Amid the busy and hectic work week I often whine about, how lucky am I to have a job, to have a son, to have my health, to have a home? Let's all try to bless those in need, let's be thankful for what we do have instead of griping about what we don't.
‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
I hope you are having a good week thus far!
, by WhatJeanLikes