She was helping her sister bag up the groceries for their mom.
The youngest sister caught my attention for some reason.
There was something different, but from the angle from which I was standing she looked perfectly normal, very much a teenager.
Then she turned around…
…I could not tell what caught my attention first.
Was it her gentle and caring manner?
Or was it the very obvious facial deformities?
My mind immediately went back to the 1980’s and a movie called Mask.
In it, the character of Rocky Dennis suffered from craniodiaphyseal dysplasia, which is a rare, disfiguring scelerotic bone disorder.
This disorder also typically reduces life expectancy.
It was a very moving film.
As I watched, her hands were also affected making it difficult to pick up items, yet she did so with a sense of accomplishment.
As they left the store I wanted to catch up with her and tell her what a great job she did in bagging the groceries, but my express line was not expressing,
So I just watched her interact with her family and then walk away.
It was then that I began the conversation.
I asked God “Why was this quiet, sweet young girl affected by such a horrible disfiguring disease?”
God replied, “Who are you talking about, what girl?”
I then asked, “What girl, what do you mean what girl? The disfigured girl that was right over there.”
God said as only He can, “John, you and all these other people who were staring at her are truly blind. I made her and I only see her as beautiful.”
This experience brought to mind a photograph of Pope Francis and how it became one of the most distributed photos of recent years.
He taking into his arms a man who was severely affected by the same disease that inspired the movie, The Elephant Man.
May God give you…may God give me…the opportunity to love those who He only sees as beautiful. May we recognize and want to attain in our own lives the beauty from within.
“Instead, it 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.” I Peter 3:4