The ABC’s of Life — or More Stuff I’ve Learned

B: Beauty: The quality in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit.

In the eighties I held one of my most enjoyable corporate positions, Beauty and Public Relations Manager. In that role I wrote newspaper articles, participated in television and radio interviews, and spoke to various organizations. During a talk to a group of senior ladies, I recited writer Somerset Maugham’s quote calling beauty at sixty the soul’s own doing. Back then I interpreted the comment to mean external beauty. All these years later the words have a far deeper meaning.

As our parents entered their final years, their inner qualities made them beautiful. Among those qualities were my mom’s love of family and her desire to see the best in everyone. My dad’s infectious sense of humor and ability to make friends with every person he met. My mother-in-law’s commitment to never say anything bad about anyone and her amazing faith and strength despite years of poor health. My father-in-law’s can-do spirit and eagerness to share a lifetime of knowledge with others.

Perhaps Christmas is the perfect time to appreciate the beauty around us and ponder the inner beauty we reflect in our actions and interactions with family, friends, and strangers.

To paraphrase 1 Peter 3: 3-4 “Your beauty …. should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

The ABC’s of Life, or My Not So Official Perspective

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The ABC’s of Life — Or Stuff I’ve Learned

A  Ability – natural aptitude or acquired efficiency.

No matter how hard I try or how long I practice, I will never jump higher than a few inches or understand trigonometry. And when it comes to the kitchen, suffice it to say Pat Nichols and gourmet chef will never be uttered in the same sentence. She didn’t burn dinner is a more accurate description of my culinary expertise. I’m not complaining. After all, my beautiful mother, who was a beloved third-grade teacher, flunked PE. Obviously, I came by my lack of athletic skills naturally. By the way, she also didn’t get along with cooking or advance math.

Writing, on the other hand, is an inherent ability. God planted the seed, but left it in my hands to embrace it and discover how to make it sprout and flourish. Ten years after retiring from the corporate world, I gave in and wrote my first manuscript. It was a mess, full of mistakes. The seed needed a ton of water and a big dose of fertilizer. So, I went to work soaking up knowledge and studying the craft. Manuscript number two was better, but still lacking. More mind saturation was needed. Everything came together for manuscript three when natural aptitude merged with acquired efficiency.

The funny thing is, I now spend eight to ten hours a day writing—with only an occasional nap. I’ve come to understand when doing what God equipped us to do, age is irrelevant. To all my friends who are in or approaching the winter of their lives on this side of heaven, take heart. It’s never too late to pursue your dreams. For those who are still young, find your God-given ability and let it flourish.

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10.