Beautiful Hands


Photo: Bedrocan


– Rebekah Burcham

True beauty isn’t if I do or do not wear makeup. It isn’t about my polished straight locks or mop of natural curls. It’s not about if I carry myself like a princess or act sweet and good. That’s beauty. But when you’re a hook-backed crone at one hundred and two and no one understands a word that drops from your crumbling lips, beauty is impossibly beyond your reach. But true beauty?

True beauty isn’t how you will ever be able to perform, like a perfumed Queen or a sizzling model or an all-natural elf maiden. True beauty isn’t about being good either, not even wearing modest clothes or caring for friends or serving your community. Those are the fruits but not the tree.

True beauty, inner beauty, the loveliness that transcends age, looks, or works, is love. Loving your children as a mother. Loving the homeless by serving hearty stew and talking to them like they’re human beings (because they are!). Loving your clingy friend who takes and takes and takes from your friendship by holding them anyway and honestly sharing your thoughts. Loving those children caught in the sex trade by fighting for them. Love isn’t a warm fuzzy feeling, love is a verb that spurs us onto our feet and sets us running against all the hurt and evil in the world.

When you choose to forgo looking glossed, that’s great (I adore everything the Guy has to say!). Skipping makeup can be an outward show of true beauty. Modesty is a powerful stand. When you leave your hair real, maybe you’re saying I know my priorities. Or maybe you’re merely being different to throw it in the world’s face, shouting I do not subscribe to your definition of beauty!

But if you’re not burning with a moving love, you’re just as glossed as the models, Photoshop and all. You’ve created your own definition of beauty, “natural,” which is just as useless as the race for perfection.

Stop trying to create an image you can fit and take pride in. As soon as you have rules for being “truly beautiful,” you’re faking it. It’s like those diets that say they aren’t diets but actually are. Is true beauty just another look? Or is it something you are going to live?

Look back over your day. What did you do that was lovely? Or were you fighting a battle for yourself? And when you die, what then? What legacy are you leaving behind? A grand individual who achieved her dreams of fame and glory, who changed the world of moviesliteraturesoccer[insertyourpassionhere]? Or a woman who loved and changed a people?

Service isn’t sexy. But it is beautiful.

This isn’t about our faces, it’s about our hands. What are we doing?

What are you doing right now?

Is it beautiful?




  1. February 17, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    This is so true!

  2. Em said,

    February 17, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Wow, so inspiring! Who wrote this????

  3. Hades said,

    February 18, 2011 at 4:52 am

    I like it. Beauty is truth; truth beauty. This essay contains both.

  4. Myth said,

    February 18, 2011 at 4:52 am

    I wondered that too at first – Reddy forgot to put her name 🙂 As you proooobably already know now 😛

    Very good question – what are we doing right now. Thanks for asking; it sure is a challenge to me!

    In Christ,

  5. UNGLOSSED said,

    February 18, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Quick: what beauty can do you this very second? Do it.

  6. Robyn said,

    February 21, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Bekah, I LOVE this piece. I love your insight and your honesty. And you are so right. Beauty, however natural or unnatural, isn’t going to last; actions will. People who do something real can leave an impact for centuries, even if they weren’t much to look at.

  7. February 22, 2011 at 12:23 am

    Amen, Hades and Robyn!

    I used to look at true beauty like “This is what you have to do if you’re not pretty to still get attention”, but now I think that true beauty is the only thing worth getting attention for. Maybe even the only thing worth doing. True beauty is powerful. It’s not about being good, it’s about honesty, about seeing beyond ourselves. It’s more beautiful than beauty.

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