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Beauty is in the Eye of the Provider

Text by: Sue E. Peterson
Owner of tchotchkes, and author of The Mourning Run

A pink, cut glass vase, sits in the garage, dust accumulating in the grooves and curves embellishing its pale surface. It was purchased, half off, with a coupon at a store downtown; for a short time, it was in the house, but never really found the right place or purpose, so it was assigned to wait in the garage until further notice. With the passage of time, boxes of decorations, half-used cans of paint, and an array of garden tools pushed the vase farther toward the back of a crowded shelf until it was forgotten. One day, in a fit of organization, the vase was rediscovered and rejected as a grimy, ugly tchotchke, worthy of nothing but the trash.
© Jessica Ceason Photography

Across town, a pink, cut glass vase, twin to its neighbor, bought at the same store with a half-off coupon, sits on the dining room table filled with fresh flowers. The delicate glass sparkles in the sunshine spilling into the room. The vase looks to be twice its real value. All who see it admire its graceful lines and elegant engravings. When the flowers it holds start to wither, they are replaced. At other times of the year, budding spring branches, orange and red fall leaves clinging to mahogany-hued limbs, or clean-smelling evergreen boughs are called into service to fill the vase with beauty and purpose.

Two identical vases — one ugly, one beautiful. What makes the difference? This is not a matter of beauty being in the eye of the beholder. No, it goes further back, to beauty being in the eye of the provider.

When we decide something is lovely, we treat it differently. We showcase, care for, and handle it with respect — even reverence. This can apply to pink vases, half-off, or people that are a little "half-off," including ourselves.

© Jessica Ceason Photography

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Someone brimming with potential or begging for pity? Do you see beauty or beast? Fat or bones? Talent or tragedy? Smarts or a few cards shy of a full deck?

It is proposed that what you see in your mirror determines what others will see as you walk through your life. What you provide is the caption under your face. It can either say, "Absolutely breathtaking; something special," or "Nothing special; don't bother; just keep moving on by."

A positive attitude toward self requires blindness and deafness. You can't afford to pay attention to what the world tells you is beauty. You can't bother listening to what the world screams is lovely. You have to block it all out, and quietly, gently, look into the mirror of your divine soul. The truth is there.

Why isn't this inner voice louder than the world's booming line of lies? Wouldn't it make recognizing words of self-worth that much easier if we didn't have to work so hard to hear them?

© Jessica Ceason Photography

Consider this: Do you deeply cherish things you had to work hard for? Have you internalized lessons that have some pain attached to them? Do you understand the value of light because you had to wander in the darkness?

We may all want the world to validate us, but unfortunately, if given the chance, the world will turn its back on us and shove us in the garage. It is up to us to place ourselves in the sunlight and provide those around us with the captions we prefer; and we must internalize the phrase, "What you think of me is none of my business."

The hard truth is, we place ourselves in daylight or darkness. We are the providers of the beauty we seek.