Beauty truly is in eyes of beholders

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

This week’s People magazine was waiting for me when I got home Sunday. After a few days out of town, I couldn’t wait to unpack and unwind. That happened, like most things in my life, several hours later. Magazine and a cup of hot tea in hand (I’m trying to cut back on caffeine which translates to less Diet Coke; ask my kids, it isn’t pretty), I crawled into my bed.

On the cover was on one of my favorite people, Halle Berry, and no wonder she graced the front &045; it was this year’s &uot;50 Most Beautiful People&uot; issue. And of course inside were the other standards I expected, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ben Affleck, Nicole Kidman and others.

Sipping my tea, I contemplated what made these people beautiful: their eyes, their figures, their skin, their perfect teeth and no doubt hard work for many of them to get where they are. And while I’m not denying they are beautiful, my list would be of different people.

Email newsletter signup

First on the list would be my children. They are beautiful, not just in their looks but in their actions. My oldest, Holly, has held down jobs in the past, which she usually got with a little help from her mom. Several weeks ago she went out and got one on her own. Waitressing at Magnolia Grill and keeping her grades up is being beautiful.

My son Matthew, who is not trying out for the more popular sport of baseball at his school but sticking with his favorite, golf, is a beautiful guy. As I write this, he and the rest of Cathedral’s varsity golf team are in Vicksburg playing for the state championship. Following your heart and not the crowd is always beautiful.

My baby, Emily, at 10 years old is the feisty one and no less beautiful. With a mind of her own and gumption of a much older woman, she definitely is high on the beautiful list.

The therapists I work with would be somewhere high on my list also. If you could see them crawling around on the floor working with children, many locked away in a seemingly unreachable autistic fog, you would wonder why. As they work with these children day after day, often to be bitten, scratched and to them even worse, ignored, they wait patiently for that moment when a single understood sound is uttered. That is truly beautiful.

Teachers. Now there is a beautiful group of people. Day in and day out working with children, searching in each of them, for a spark to light a fire. And while I could never name all the wonderful teachers my children have had over the years, there is one who is truly beautiful. Gwen Young at Trinity High School is high on the list of beautiful people. More than an English teacher and senior class counselor, she is the epitome of grace and kindness. She has maintained her own set of standards for her class. How many people in this day and age do you know who will still not say the word &uot;sex&uot; or will tell their class &uot;that is not something we watch in mixed company.&uot;

Laugh if you want, but that high set of standards and the knowledge that her biggest weakness is her love of chocolate is why her classes, consistently year after year, love her. And she is one of the first persons a returning graduate looks for when they drop by the school.

I could go on and on with my list, but you get the idea. Some people are born beautiful, some aspire to be beautiful and some just are beautiful in their heart and soul. That last category makes my top 50 every time.

Christina Hall

writes a weekly column for The Democrat.