Sunday, April 13, 2008


Typically, I steer away from using the word, "beautiful." I think it's severely over-used in our society. We've gotten to the point where anything we find pleasing is "beautiful." I don't think so. To me, the word should be powerful. It should only be used in those instances where words like "pretty" and "pleasing" fall way short.

I know I'm opening up a can of worms here, because beauty is a relative thing. I'm well aware that beauty is "in the eyes of the beholder." This beholder, however, has rarely seen it. But I would like to share some of those instances with you. These are some of the things that I find beautiful:

This is a grandmother in Bolivia...raising her three grandchildren by herself. Their father left them years ago and the mother passed away. A grandmother, struggling in poverty, working hard to feed, clothe, shelter and provide an education for three children that are not her own. That's beautiful.

This is Rosicela. I took this picture moments after she met the man who sponsors her through Compassion International. A few weeks before his visit, he sent Rosicela some money for her birthday. She decided she wanted to use some of the money to buy a new dress. She wanted to wear that dress when her sponsor arrived weeks later. Here she is, proudly wearing her new dress...and holding on to the stuffed moose her sponsor bought her. It was an absolutely beautiful moment to see the two of them meet face to face for the first time.

This little boy attends a Compassion project in Kenya. What I find beautiful about this boy is that he lives in extreme poverty on the outskirts of Nairobi...where HIV is rampant. Despite the deplorable conditions, look at the hope in his eyes. Look at the smile on his face. It is sheer beauty when a child can find a reason to smile amidst those circumstances.

Lest you think I can only find beauty in people, here's a flower I saw in Guatemala. I don't know much about flowers. I'm sure someone can tell me what kind of flower it is. But regardless, I find its intricacies and delicate design beautiful.

This is a brother and sister at play on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. Look at the debris in the foreground. Look at the slums in the background. Two kids...just being kids...and playing in the dirt, in the midst of so much despair...well, to me, that is beautiful.

This is Yasmin. I have traveled to seven countries now with Compassion and I have never seen a more heartbreaking home than Yasmin's. Her entire house was the size of my laundry room...and it was made of scraps of wood, tin and even some old billboards. The floor was dirt. The stove was a pot. No running water. No electricity. Her favorite toy was this headless doll. My heart broke when I saw her. But then I saw her mother interacting with her. There was so much love in that tiny little house of scraps. It was, without a doubt, beautiful.

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