"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing —
to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from —
my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing,
all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back."

~C.S. Lewis

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Beauty's Flight

I want to be beautiful.

I want to have a beauty that speaks to the world about the Beauty of a Lord. So many say that this world emphasizes beauty too much, but that is wrong, and I am tired, so tired of this world that does not and never has never seen how important beauty is. The problem is not that we value beauty too much, but that we value it too little. Beauty is of the utmost importance. True beauty is the reflection of God; true beauty is the outpouring of His light; true beauty is the ultimate glory to God.

I will also not say that I will not focus on physical beauty, or that beauty is all about being “beautiful in soul.” I understand this sentiment, and I see the reasons behind it, but for me, it fragments beauty in a devastating way. A woman’s desire is to make herself physically beautiful. No matter what the church denies or what the media promises, I cannot deny I have a desperate, soul-deep desire to be Beautiful. When I start denying that, the rest of my soul and heart are affected, for I am a holistic being. When I deny my body, I have stopped being holistic, I become inauthentic, and my soul is affected—I become less beautiful on the inside.

So instead of condemning fashion and makeup, movies and modeling, I see that they understand something the church does not: that beauty is wonderful. I used to be too quick to label that “worldly” or “vain,” but instead, I see now that perhaps they are just following a wonderful desire deep within women to take care of their bodies stunningly as God’s temple. The industry fragments it from Christ’s Beauty and so they lose much of the magic and the glory within it, but that is something a Christian can bring back.

The lack of endless pursuit of beauty in the church may be why I was drawn to modeling and acting in the first place—I was drawn to beauty, as everyone is. Not all movies or pictures are beautiful; there are only a few that strike me as having maia; but those few that did spoke to me of the Beauty of Another in a way I was not being told of anywhere else. And I wanted—and want—to be a part of Beauty.

But when I am holistic—when I seek to reflect beauty as a whole woman in mind, body, emotions, spirit, and passions—something incredible happens in my life. I touch maia. Perhaps no one else sees it, perhaps there is no outward change in me, and perhaps it is merely a holy fire within my own soul, known only to myself and to my King. But I cannot know that. I cannot judge what another sees and I cannot know what vision another has been given. That is not my calling—to make others know. It is to reflect the King as I am called, it is to be faithful, and to let Him reveal to others what He will. So I seek to hold out maia; I can do no less as a Christ-follower than to be a maia-bringer.

I know that when I see such authentic, rejoicing, abandonment-filled beauty in another woman, it strikes my soul. I do not see it often, for although many may have it, it only personally touches me in a few. But when it does, I realize it is all worth it; if only one ever saw it in me, that would be enough. For when I brush up against true beauty in that woman, I am inspired, uplifted, and even sanctified. Being in her presence alone brings me into the presence of God, for she reflects His face so strongly she lifts up others in her flight.

I want to fly.