What IS True Beauty?
The building looked terrible as if it came from my nightmares or some place even worse. It could have been the opening setting for a Zombie Apocalypse--no kidding. The bricks were crumbling. The screen door had many holes in it, where flies passed in and out, enjoying the air conditioning that billowed through. And yet some people called that smelly place a church.
I read the front sign in the yard. "Everything in the darkness will come into the light." That seemed different. I was used to quirky church signs where pastors figured humor would pull in the crowds AND their paychecks.
Many people walked into the building. It's embarrassing to admit, but I judged them. Some were gorgeous, in their furs and fancy hats; I couldn't understand why such high-class people would go there. Others were homely--like Lucifer's cousins--and they didn't know a thing about hygiene. I bet they stunk worse than the building, and that's why the flies swarmed around them instead of the door for a moment.
One handsome man stood in front of a dirty window before walking through the entrance. But the window didn't show his reflection correctly. I stared at the glass. He licked a dirty palm and tried slicking back his matted hair. After several tries, a greasy lock still fell in front of his face. He nodded at himself sadly and turned to go into the building. But when he turned, he looked so different from what I'd seen in the glass. He was handsome--striking even. That's when curiosity got the better of me, and I wondered what my reflection would look like in the window.
I stood from my car; dust danced by my feet as I shut the door. The ground seemed spongy, like the ground in a dream.
It was musty there. I remembered my appearance from earlier in the day; I hadn't looked too bad.
My feet refused to move for a moment, though, until everyone had gone into the decrepit church.
I stepped toward the window. The closer I came, the more clearly I saw myself. With every step, a wrinkle etched my face. With every movement, another section of my skin sagged, until I looked completely wretched. Was that really me?
I did the same thing the man had done. I stared in the the window as I licked a dirty palm and tried slicking back my matted hair, but nothing could be done to make myself look better. My eyes caught on the edges of the glass then, where words had been inscribed with painstaking dedication. "Everything in the darkness will come into the light . . . like the way you truly see yourself."
I grabbed at my face, pawing over every defect. Surely, I didn't view myself that poorly. I looked like a hag in a fairytale, the hag who tests people with her own hideous face!
I finally understood why I must go into the church. So, the man who looked in the window before me; he must have felt terrible inside. We'd both discovered something few would ever see--our own self-worth.
So, with nervousness as my only companion, I walked up to the screen door at the front of the church. My trembling hand grabbed the handle and flies swarmed around me just like they'd swarmed around the other people I had judged earlier.
"Enter," a soothing voice whispered from the inside. "But know, if you come, you won't leave the same."
I opened the door and a foul stench overtook me.
Maybe it WAS the beginning of a Zombie Apocalypse. After all, nothing had happened to prove otherwise.
I walked into the church and became stunned because no one was there. No one except me and a beautiful altar.
Look for the continuation in tomorrow's post: HERE