All the strong things of her heart came out in her body, that had been so tireless in serving generous emotion. —Willa Cather—
We’re always fascinated by beauty, and we see it as the outward sign as goodness. For young children, anything that brings pleasure is good: soft fur, music, colored lights, candy. What a disappointment to find that a soft kitten has claws that scratch! As we mature, our notions of beauty and pleasure deepen and become more complex. We see that beauty in people often is a reaction of their spiritual selves-and that physical beauty is a little shallow and unsatisfying unless a generous spirit accompanies it. That’s what we call straightening out our priorities: deciding or discovering that virtue isn’t boring, it’s essential. Honesty, dependability,
and truth are what we look for in others and what we strive for in ourselves. They wear better than clothes or cars. There’s a saying, “In middle age, we have the faces we deserve.” Everyone has seen the wreckage that selfishness or dissipation can leave on the faces of old beauties. When we have strong, durable, compassionate spirits, we will be good to look at. Strength and tenderness are more beautiful to look at than high cheekbones or curling hair, and I deserve them in my relationships.