Beauty is not just seen brightly, it is felt
I awoke to the ocean and I was forty-five.
It took only seconds for me to remember where I was, as I opened my eyes to the sunrise sprinkling the room with colour and light, the fireplace still burning and the ocean only steps away.
Slowly turning over in the most luxurious California queen bed, I stretched and cuddled deeper into the satin white duvet and began to wake up. I am slow to wake, and this sunshine filled morning was not different in that way, despite the location and the date. I’d arrived the night before after sitting in airports and airplanes for the better half of a day, finding my way to the ocean through the sky.
I hadn’t really made plans for this trip – only knowing where I’d stay – having decided that particular detail many months ago, well, a year ago. The Magnolia Hotel my only commitment, and my only intention to wake up each day, start walking and let the day lead me where I needed to go. And that’s what I did.
And so that morning, having sat by the fire, gazing out at the water over a delectable coffee, I headed downstairs, out onto the brick street and began to walk. It was part way through that first trek to the oceans edge that I came upon him.
I could see them up ahead, two men sitting cross legged on the sidewalk, tucked back as to not be in the way. They were part of the landscape ahead really, as I trundled up the hill on my way to find more open ocean views. I was distracted, and thinking how I’d manage to get there, as I’d muddled through several wrong turns trying to get to the trail alongside the sea, asking people for directions as I went and trying to use the map on my phone without much success.
I had just come back to the main walkway from a wrong turn down a trail, retracing my steps and looking up the hill to where they were, when I headed towards them, smiling and humming. I was truly enjoying being lost and knowing that if I kept going, I’d find my way. And I did.
As I walked up the hill, he came more into view, his dark hair and boyish smile visible as he turned his head toward me. The sun shone onto his cheeks and his entire face lit up with his smile. As I approached and said hello, I smiled and paused just a little, as he said hello back. With another step, he turned to his friend, seated nearby, his voice soft and full of life and uttered the words that have stuck with me since.
He said, ‘The sun was in my eyes but I knew she was beautiful’.
I was struck by his words and walked on up the hill. He saw the beauty in me, without seeing me at all. And I know, that only a truly gracious heart sees that deeply. I had been thinking the same thought of him in that sliver of time, when our worlds collided. His and mine, so different, on the outside.
Truly, I’d never felt more beautiful than in that moment. The beauty of life all around me and his stunning light continuing to warm my heart as I finally found my way to the oceans edge and looked out to where to sky met the water.
It would have been easy for me to cross the street and take a different path when I saw them, but I didn’t. I let the trail take me where my heart wanted to go and the trail took me past him. I think I needed to walk that path and have him touch my heart in a way it hadn’t been touched for a while.
So, this week I hope you find and share love and beauty with the people you pass by. And remember, true beauty is felt, not just seen.