When I see something that I think is beautiful, I say it. I just do. Man or woman, doesn't matter.
So on my first day as a volunteer at the Life Care Center in Escondido, California, I was greeted by Amy Cooper, the Activities Coordinator, and introduced to a few of the residents.
As I met them, I made a point of seeing something in each of them. When you see a human being, there are thousands of those details. The rise of an eyebrow, the crook in a smile, the color of eyes, the hair as it floats on the forehead. It's all there.
These folks are no different. They have the advantage of history, loves, experience, and ease that accompanies them in the heaviness of their life. In volunteering at this place, if I bring a smile to their faces, it's in a sincere appreciation for their beauty.
And, dear god, are they ever beautiful.
This one dear woman, white as a sheet in her skin, hair, and nails, had a pair of the most beautiful blue eyes I'd ever seen, electrified against the canvas of her coloring.
I told her she had the most beautiful blue eyes, a color that could be seen from NASA satellite photos. She smiled and asked me if I was Irish. I said I was. She said, "I knew it. You're full of blarney!"
I loved her immediately.
She didn't think she was beautiful. That astounds me. If any of you saw her, you'd see what I saw. I think the word that I'd use for her is "becoming." She was beautiful, no doubt about that. But it was pronounced in such unique fashion. I think, more accurately and more to the point, she was really "becoming."
I'm glad I stumbled upon that word. It's so accurate. It punctuates the beauty. Rounds it out a little. Gives it dimension.
Here's a better description. It applies, I think, to all of us at every part of our lives. But it truly applies to the Angels of Residence at the Life Care Center in Escondido, CA:
"You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't have often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." -The Velveteen Rabbit