Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Beauty or The Beast?

A couple of days ago, I watched the movie "Enchanted" with my husband and kids.  We had seen it before, but rented it again because it's such a fun movie.  The heroine of the story, Giselle, is thrust from her fairytale land by her future mother-in-law into the throngs of New York City.  Her first few hours in this chaotic, mind-boggling city are spent frantically searching for her one true love, Prince Edward, and the castle where they were supposed to be wed.  As the story unfolds, Giselle faces each new situation with wide-eyed innocence, a kind heart, and, of course, a song.  Always the picture of a princess, she is beautiful in both her disposition and her appearance.

I thought this morning that I would do my best to approach life like Giselle.  I thought I would get up, make myself "beautiful" and start my day with a song on my lips.  Alas, when I looked in the mirror, I saw not a beautiful princess, but a tired 33-year-old mother of four.  Streaks of gray highlight the once lustrous brown hair, dark circles adorn the eyes that would rather still be closed peacefully in sleep.  I would hardly call myself "Beauty" (Perhaps today I could play "The Beast" instead?), and if I'm Cinderella, I must be the pre-Fairy God Mother version.   So I pulled on my blue jeans -- no ball gowns here, please! -- and put my hair up in a clip.  I glanced at my little bag of makeup then turned off the bathroom light; no time for makeup this morning.

I hope to get back to that makeup before my husband comes home this evening.  Not because he demands it, but because he enjoys it.  (At least I think he does!)  My mom told me once, years ago, that I should always try to make myself look nice before my husband comes home for the day.  Because he may not love me if I'm not all "done up?"  Um, no.  There are plenty of days that it doesn't happen and he loves me anyway.  Who knows, he may even find me attractive in spite of my lack of effort.  But when I take the time to make myself look pleasant, it communicates to him that he's worth the extra effort.  Because I love him.  So I may not look like a princess by the time he gets home tonight, but I can at least look like I gave it my best shot.

But, as my mother-in-law says, "looks aren't everything."  Remember how I said Giselle was beautiful inside and out?  Well, I would imagine that in her perfect world of Andalasia, she never had quarreling children or cranky toddlers to deal with.  Her home was always sparkling clean with the help of her animal friends, and she spent her days dreaming about "love's first kiss."  Oh, to have that luxury!  Instead, my "castle" looks more like a war zone and my list of chores is pages long.  Not enough sleep and an intense craving for chocolate only compound the situation and create one cranky woman!  So now I not only look like the Beast, but I'm acting like him, too!

In the middle of all the chaos with my two youngest children this morning, I sat down to read some thoughts written by an old friend.  I was reminded by what she wrote that I have so much to be thankful for.  I have four beautiful children who have been blessed with the ability to run and play (and wreak havoc on my living room).  I have a husband who is willing to go to work every day while I stay at home with our children.  He has a job with a steady paycheck, which so many have lost in recent times.  I have a God who loves me more than I could ever imagine.  And as I stop to dwell on those and so many other blessings I can feel my disposition start to soften.

My children are napping and I found something to satisfy my chocolate craving.  I'm going to take some time now to soak up some encouragement from my Heavenly Father.    Come to think of it, He's the King of all the universe and Scripture says I'm his daughter,  so I guess that makes me a princess after all.  Maybe with a little help from Him and a little effort on my part, my Prince can come home to the Princess he deserves.

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