Monday, 25 June 2012

Unfading Beauty

Kevin and I spent the weekend on the North Coast of Jamaica.  Kevin had a work function and I went along for the oceanfront view and beachside piƱa coladas.  We stayed at the Ritz, wined and dined on escargot and other unknown delicacies (you know you’re someplace fancy when you can’t pronounce what you’re eating) and brushed shoulders with some of the biggest names in the Caribbean tourism industry. 

On Saturday night we attended a gala.  Kevin wore his three piece suit from our wedding; complete with handmade cufflinks made out of shoe string, as he forgot his actual cufflinks in Kingston (The ingenuity of that boy still surprises me).  I wore high heels for the first time in years (literally).  I am not a high heel girl…I wore slippers on my wedding day; if that gives you any insight into the priority I place on comfort.  Prior to the gala, I spent an entire day shopping for a comfortable pair of heels, and quickly realized this was an oxymoron.  My feet are still recovering.

The gala was hosted by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association.  They were celebrating fifty years since their inception, and honored the lives that had led and influenced along the way.  The Association’s first president opened the evening.  He was an old man — I’d guess in his late eighties.  His hair was white, his fingers arthritic, and his skin like a prune.  When it became obvious he couldn’t climb the two stairs leading up to the stage on his own, people rushed to his aid and quite literally lifted him up and positioned him in front of the podium.  He was surprisingly articulate and verbose, and his eyes lit up as he relived his golden years.  The sad part was…nobody really cared.  As his speech dragged on far over his allotted time, people simply stopped listening.  There was a low rumble in the crowd, as guests carried on private conversations at their dinner tables, oblivious to this former president’s attempt to prove he had once been someone worth listening to.

As I sat in my chair, wondering if this man realized his years of power and prestige were a thing of the past; I felt a common thread between him and all mankind:  We’re all in the process of fading away.  We may be in different chapters, but the book ends the same for everyone.  And the closer we get to the end, the more we realize how short the book is and how fast the time’s gone.   

One day (sooner than we think) we’ll all be in the final chapter.  Our beauty will fade.  Our strength will fade.  Our power will fade.  Sitting at the gala, I felt an urgency to live for something that will not fade.  To spend my time and energy investing in things that will outlast this life:  A gentle spirit, a kind heart, a generous soul.  I want unfading beauty.  I want treasures that will last forever. 

It’s something I’m working on—or rather, God’s working on in me: Striving for beauty in my inner self, and investing in treasures that can’t be destroyed.  It’s a challenging lesson to master, especially in a culture that embraces the external.  Though beauty and power are fleeting, they are still alluring, and it takes boldness and great faith to resist the world’s charms. 

So here is a toast to the courageous among us who pursue unfading beauty and fix their eyes on unseen treasures they may never receive on this earth.  May I be counted among them.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6: 19-21