"There is nothing more beautiful
than a person who goes out of her way
to make another life beautiful."
- Mandy Hale
Look at this woman. She is beautiful. She has salt and pepper hair, a bright smile, and warm arms to hug you. She has laughter lines galore. But best of all, she has gentle eyes. Her gentle eyes look right into your soul and know, instantly, that which you are thinking. Her hands are soft and always willing to hold mine. Her arm is always ready to be linked with mine. Her soul is innocent and shines bright through her. She speaks only kind words. And she loves without judgement. Look at this woman. She is beautiful.
I was blessed beyond compare to visit with my dear sister the other night. I hadn't seen her in a year, although it feels like it wasn't too long ago. She texts, calls and writes often making sure that I always know she is thinking of me. And as often as possible, I do the same. She had been visiting with her family but made sure to free a few hours for me, too. I picked her up, we stopped for some ice cream, sat for a while and then went for a walk in one of the places we used to frequent often when I was in high school. It was great simply being in her presence spending one on one time with her.
When it was time to leave, she made sure to take my picture while I was sitting on the couch in the parlor of the convent. And after she took my picture, I took a selfie with her. She made me promise to send her a copy and soon it will be on its way in the mail. I couldn't help but pray, dear God, let this not be the last time I see her. I always pray that now. With so many people I love. I've learned to take each moment as if it might be the last. She hugged me tightly at the door, apologizing for forgetting her key which didn't allow her to walk me to the car. I told her to be safe on her flight home the next day, squeezed her tight and told her I loved her. She let go a bit of our embrace, looked me in the eye with her gentle ones, and said, "I love you very very much, you know that." Before I could cry, I turned for the door, got in my car and checked the rear-view mirror to see her waiting for me to drive away. I smiled. She was always watching out for me.
When I got home, I wanted to find the right words to post with our picture. It really was a great picture - one I will cherish forever. I found the above quotation and thought that nothing described her more perfectly. I've always thought that she was one of the most beautiful people I know. I remember being in high school, accidentally finding her senior picture in the yearbook, giggling a little because I now was privy to her baptismal name, and realizing that she was one of the most beautiful girls in her class. I told her that a day or two after I found her picture and she just smiled.
In high school, she was a mystery to me. I had known religious sisters before, but she was different. Maybe it was the fact that she was the first sister I had as a teacher. Maybe it was her gentleness. Maybe it was the fact that she sang to us in class all the time (Lord, you are more precious than silver, more precious than gold). Or maybe it was because she opened my heart and soul to a whole new religious community. Whatever it was, she was a mystery to me.
She was the first sister I ever told about thinking about religious life. I told her in a letter and that has become something near and dear to us - letter writing. From then on, she took me under her wing. Sometimes, quite literally. I'm sure in the ten years that I have known her, things about me have changed. But she always tells me I've always been special to her. I'm glad that hasn't changed.
I remember visiting Chapel after school as often as I could. Back when I went to Naz, the sisters still lived in the convent so they used the big Chapel for their own prayer. I had this thing where I would take my shoes off at the doors of chapel and walk in my socks to my pew. She knew where I kept my shoes and would always know if I was in Chapel simply by checking for my shoes. On Fridays, sometimes we cleaned Chapel together or watered the plants or prayed together. We would sometimes go for walks around the high school campus to pray the Rosary or faith share. In my high school eyes, she was amazing.
Now, six years after I had graduated high school, I was looking at this picture of us, wondering want to say. In my young adult eyes, she is still amazing. But it's an amazingness that I can't quite define. All I know is that while she may be physically beautiful, she is even more beautiful in heart and soul. She makes my life beautiful by her presence. She makes my life beautiful by her ability to make me feel like the only person in the world that matters when we're sharing stories together. She makes my life beautiful when she holds my hand or wraps her arm around me in Chapel and we pray together. She makes my life beautiful with every card, note or text. And the best part is that she does it for so many people, not just me. I hope that I can make at least one person feel as special as she makes me feel.
Look at this woman. She is beautiful. She lights up the room with her gentle compassion. She speaks only kind words of others. She loves with judgement. She holds so many dear to her heart. She prays so deeply and fervently. She believes the best in others. She makes each person she's with feel like the moon and all the stars. She holds on tightly when you hug her. She carries you in prayer. She listens to your heart. She wipes away your tears. She holds your heart in her gentle hands and protects it with all she can. Look at this woman. She is beautiful and I just want her to know that I think so. And I am so blessed to know her. Thank you, God.