“A little thing comforts us because a little thing afflicts us.”  –Pascal 

I bounded out of my car and excitedly made my way to the basement of Bridgehaven. I felt like a little kid who had just been handed a gift she couldn’t wait to open. I’m a lover of beauty. I love living a beautiful life, but most of all I love creating beauty. And today was my day. 

Creeping down the basement stairs, I flicked on the light and exhaled. There they were. All sitting snugly on the shelves. My boxes. Waiting. Dying to be explored. Again, that childlike smile flashed across my face as I quickly loaded all seven boxes of the 4th of July decor on the cart and made the trek of loading them in my car. 

Driving to Treasures, I was planning out exactly how my morning would go in my mind. Visions of creating red, white, and blue beauty filled my head. Loading all my goods on the big cart at Treasures was my final step before pushing it out in all its glory to be displayed on the floor. 

I should have known. Should have guessed. Life never goes as planned… much less my day. The goods were loaded and all I had to do was push them out to the floor. My hands gripped the cart like a race car driver gripping his steering wheel. Ready to take off. Ready to focus. I was focused on creating beauty — of bringing comfort to my day. Ready to…

“Hey, Christine! Where should we put these items?” 

 “Christine, a customer wants to know about . . . “ 

“I need totes down.” 

“I need totes up.” 

“Pricing on this item?” 

“How in the world do you put this item together?!?” 

“Christine, phone call line one!” 

I watched each precious minute tick away and looked longingly out at my boxes sitting so lonely on the cart. Everybody had a question. A moment finally came and out I pushed those boxes. Determination was on my face. I had a mission. I carefully selected the tables for display, and then like a Christmas morning, each item was carefully unwrapped and waiting. Waiting to create beauty. Waiting to be the beauty. 

Yet, whenever new items are brought out, it’s like an ant finding something sweet. Because soon there are more and more ants who can’t wait to taste. Soon a good half dozen ladies were swarming over the items and asking if they could buy. 

“Well, of course you can!” 

I saw happy faces. Happy ladies. And I also saw my items not even making it into my display. Hmmmm. It clicked. I was missing the beauty mark. I had been so focused on the beauty of the merchandise that I had lost the awe of the beauty right in front of me. I had been so focused on creating beauty with my stuff, that the real beautythe beauty of a soul, had gone unnoticed. The beauty of people. People. It was time to put that beauty mark where it belonged.  

Truth be told, my original 12 o’clock, “display all done” kind of goal didn’t happen till 4:00 that afternoon. But, I had experienced beauty and given beauty in completely different ways than I had originally dreamed. 

Beauty: the young girl with green hair who came to me sobbing and needing to talk about her grandma who had just passed 

Beauty:  the man whose past was engraved all over his face and needed help finding shorts    

Beauty:  thank-you smile and eyes that crinkle up when I gave them an answer and that light bulb moment 

Beauty:  the light of wonder at an expensive donation just received 

Beauty:  a happy laugh because I listened while looking at dozens of a customer’s dog pics 

Beauty:  helping load furniture with sweat streaming down my face  

Beauty:  a flash of hope springing into a client’s eyes 

Granted, the red, white, and blue displays were full of beauty, but I had come to realize that beauty doesn’t always have to be created. Sometimes it is the very person that Jesus has placed right in front of me. And that beauty comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors…  and has a soul… has a heart…

 “If we have tomorrow, it will be a gift, but what we do today, right now, will have an accumulated effect on all our tomorrows.”Alexandra Stoddard