Under Pressure


ImageChris and I were watching TV the other day and a commercial with Jennifer Aniston came on. Staring into her sparkling gray-blue eyes, I asked Chris, “Do you think Jen is beautiful? I mean, she’s obviously attractive, but would you use the word beautiful?” Chris thought about it for a second. “No, I’d say pretty, cute, not “beautiful,” though.”

This past week I’ve been thinking about how I define beauty. Jennifer Aniston is practically physically perfect, but I think that’s one of the reasons I don’t find her beautiful. She’s too perfect. She doesn’t have any scars or wrinkles or visible birthmarks or gray hairs or anything. She seems to be effortlessly good-looking, though she probably isn’t, I know she spends hours doing yoga and she no doubt spends a ton of money on her clean foods and such. Don’t think I have anything against Jen, I’m just interested in why the word “beautiful” doesn’t leap to my mind when I see her.

Beauty doesn’t just define a physical state. If I knew Jen personally, I’d probably say she was beautiful, she seems like a nice gal. But maybe she’s a horrible person, and then I wouldn’t say she’s beautiful. Beauty is in a person’s character. It’s in their soul. From my perspective of her, Jennifer Aniston is pretty. Maya Angelou is beautiful.

There’s a Greek proverb that translates into “Beautiful things are difficult.” That’s reflected in nature. Oysters create pearls from a bit of sand that irritates their tender insides. Diamonds are made when coal is succumbed to massive amounts of pressure. Ordinary people are made extraordinary by the difficulties of their situation.

Nothing truly worthwhile is effortless.


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