Not too terribly long ago, I had the pleasure of seeing my family. My whole family, including my Beautiful Nieces.
It was the holidays, so a good bit of that time was spent in eating things my waistline didn’t need and playing games and even a smidge of Christmas shopping here and there.
[Pause to freak out: Christmas is almost here! Am I ready??? Auuuugh!]
OK. I’m all right now. Back to topic.
At one point my Second Beautiful Niece was entertaining herself with some sort of sign-up form she’d created, which included a “Mad Lib”-esque portion, along these lines:
________ is __________ and wants to play a game ( ) yes ( ) no
She fills out the form, carefully squeezing Aunt Gringita into her first blank and then pausing to ask me for a word to describe myself.
I think about this for a moment, hmmming my thought process so she knows I’m mulling and not ignoring her.
“Pretty?” she asks me. It’s definitely a question: Do I think I’m pretty, she seems to be asking me. And at the same time, it’s an offering: “pretty” is high praise indeed, isn’t it? Too often, “pretty” is the highest compliment to which a little girl (or sometimes perhaps even a grown woman) aspires.
“You’re pretty.” says the thought for this week from my sister. And because she looks at me with the eyes of love-love-love, I believe her.
But my niece’s almost-overreaching question, while kindly meant, only makes me think harder. I am pretty in my less-than-obvious way, but it is not the first adjective I would assign myself.
“Kind?” she suggests, and there’s less of a question in her tone.
“Yes, OK. Kind,” I agree, smiling. I am comfortable with kindness. Kindness is longer-lasting than mere prettiness. Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit… perhaps even an indicator of an internal prettiness.
My Niece is truly Beautiful. Both of them are, both inside and out — and I hope they think of themselves as pretty… but I hope they also always see themselves in light of their God-given inner beauty.