My friend and sister Redbud, Judy Douglas, shared this poem at a writerâ€™s retreat I attended last weekend. I thought it was so sacred and special that I had to share it with you. It was originally published on Judy’s blog, judydouglass.com
The poet, Beth English, has served on the Cru Campus staff for 42 years and has also served with her husband in Eastern Europe for seven. She and her husband have been married for 40 years and have 4 adult children. She writes and speaks on Emotional Developmental Stages of Womenâ€™s Lives and speaks at womenâ€™s conferences.
When I was Beautiful by Beth English
Unearthing a photo of me when I was sixteen,
Blonde hair floating about her shoulders,
Sunkist cheeks flushing pink,
You used to be beautiful then!â€
“Then?â€ I think, â€œThen?â€
But say instead, â€œYou think so?â€
In that definitive little way of hers
As if she has the world figured outâ€”
Daring it to deviate from her determined point of view.
â€œThenâ€ I think, but do not say,
What do you know of beauty?â€
An unlined, unblemished face
In an artificially arranged
Studio with soft lighting?
I am more beautiful now than I ever was,
With my soul worn down, smooth, and resilient,
Like the soft blue jeans you always wear,
Like supple leather pounded with rubber mallets
From worries I could not stop
And storms I could not control
Soothed only with the peace
I am more beautiful now that I ever was.
If I were a rose I would be a Queen Elizabeth
Full of scent and elegance.
If I were a tree I would be a towering redwood
I would be a whispered caress.
Iâ€™d be the solid foundation of a home.
I am more beautiful than I ever was.
I am enduring, I am weathered,
Rounded as river stones from a swift current,
Hammered, hammered flat as silver
By my mistakes and erroneous judgments,
To the Potterâ€™s pliable clay.
If I thought Youâ€™d listen,
Iâ€™d tell you the way to become beautiful
Would be to let the storms rage,
To fix your hope on the lighthouse,
Shining in the worst of weather,
And to let lifeâ€™s arrows pass through
Knowing He will heal you,
Even when you think it is impossible.
For these are the lessons
Have you ever smelled a scarlet rose the very days
Eaten a peach at its ripest,
Juice dripping down your chin?
This is the fullness of time, my dear.