March 9, 2011
I gaze in the mirror at my my freshly washed face; at the dark eyebrows set against pale skin generously scattered with freckles. I must peer closely to see the dark lashes which match my eye brows and hair. Usually, I apply just a bit of mascara, fill in a couple of spaces on my brows, dab some concealer on any blemishes that show up today and lightly sweep some blush on those pale cheeks. My mind and my world tells me that in order to be beautiful and to look my best, I must open that bag and apply its contents. Today, I only gaze briefly and walk from the bathroom, my make-up bag untouched.
This year for Lent (the 40 day season prior to the commemoration of Jesus’ death and resurrection at Easter) I chose to give up wearing make-up. Not so much as a form of denial as a desire to physically commit to making myself open and vulnerable to the one who created me; the one who died for me.
What I didn’t realize was that it would be so hard. That I would feel self conscious without the minimal touches of make-up that I wore. That the concealer, the mascara, and blush were a mask that I hid behind. That without them, I had bought the lie that I was unattractive or worse, ugly. With out them I was not. quite. good. enough. I was ashamed of the spots, the pale cheeks, and I couldn’t hide a night that was short on sleep. Twice, I couldn’t do it and I wore make-up. I looked in the mirror and liked what I saw. And yet, my heart cried to see myself in the light of the one who created me.
As Easter approached, my thoughts turned to Christ and to the ugliness/beauty of the cross. Jesus, willingly dying in my place. Taking the ugliness of my heart. The spots and blemishes on my soul, my character, and my actions. Allowing himself to be broken and hung high in humiliation. So that I could be clean. So that I could be covered in beauty. His beauty. So that I could walk in Life as he rose to life. As I began to take this in, the spots on my face, the pale skin and the thin eyelashes became less important. I am HIS and a cosmetic covering of my spots does not decrease nor increase my value to him. He has taken away any need for all masks, for all touch-ups, and for all concealers. And as I walk in His light, I begin to bury that truth deep within my heart. Only then can I see myself, others and Him in the light of beauty and truth.