The Most Important Part of Your Face.

I remember being a little girl watching my mom put on lip gloss. She got really focussed. She looked in the mirror and puckered her lips just so. The gloss always smelled really good – like berries or candy. Then she would mush her lips together making sure both lips were covered. Every once in a while if I was very good, she would let me put some on too!

That’s how I learned that my lips were the most important part of my face. The part that deserved the most attention. It didn’t matter if I was out playing on my bike or in a fort in the dirt…my lips should always be pretty and glossy and smell like candy!

Then as a teenager I started to get pimples. Like every other teen I was the victim of unscheduled eruptions that ruined my whole week. From watching everyone else,  I learned to cover my face. I used foundation, highlighter and powder to try to make my whole face look uniform. No big red swollen spots Here! No Sir!

That’s how I learned that covering up my face was the most important part. Don’t look natural. The more makeup the better. At work, at school, on a date….my face should always been that perfect shade of non-shiny beige.

Recently, my eyes have caught my attention. How did I get those dark circles? And why are my eyebrows looking so pale? I guess It’s that grey hair creeping in. I use a little concealer under my eyes although it’s hard to find stuff that doesn’t settle into my wrinkles. And draw on some eyebrows…quick!!!!

That’s how I learned that my eyes are the most important part of my face. The part of my face that I wish still look young. The windows into my older soul. The part of me that looks back at me in the mirror. My eyes that change color with my mood. Grey when I’m upset and blue when I’m happy.

From someone who has been there, please know that it really doesn’t matter if you are wearing fruity smelling lip gloss, or if your makeup is covering your zits. Whether your eyebrows are on fleek is of no concern.

What really matters is that you use your mouth to speak words filled with loving kindness. That when you do speak, you speak to everyone…the homeless, the singled-out, the nerds, the popular kids, the people who seem ok but really aren’t, the ones who need you to tell them, “You are not alone.” That you use your words to speak out against injustice and hatred. And that you also learn when NOT to speak…that’s a tough one.

It’s important that you use your face to be real. No hiding, no wearing a mask, no pretending to be something you’re not. “Perfect” is not the destination. We need you to be YOU. Because you have an individual purpose that no one else can achieve. Turn your face towards those who need to be seen and heard. Face the crowd. Face the Music. Let your face be your autobiography!

And finally, work to SEE people for who they are on the inside. Look on others with patience.  Look through their mistakes and into their hearts. Look for the silver lining. See what is good in the world and find grace for each and every soul you meet.

And then you will be truly beautiful…..

 

 

Seeing the Homeless

I’m not sure exactly when it happened but a few years back I started looking at homeless people in a different way. Before that moment, when I saw someone panhandling I immediately jumped to the conclusion that they were on drugs, worthless and deserved their homeless status. I had judged them and thrown them all into a class labelled “Underserving.”

But the universe was working on me. Each time I saw someone begging, eyes downcast, dirty and tired I wondered what I would do if I saw my son sitting in their place. What would I do to help him? Would I walk by and not make eye contact – like most people do? Would I immediately jump to the worst conclusion?

So I started talking to them. I met Michael in Houston a couple of year ago. He was 19 years old and had been sleeping under the freeway bridge close to our hotel. He had been there for a couple of days but wasn’t feeling particularly safe but he was glad that in Houston it was at least warm out at night. We talked about his family. I told him his mom was probably worried about him and then I bought him a coffee at Starbucks. He wouldn’t come in with me so I brought it out to him.

I met Helen outside of a Publix grocery store in Brunswick, GA. She was sitting by the stop sign crying. I walked over and sat down next to her and put my arm around her. She was dirty and had no shoes. She was crying because she lost her job at Burger King and was now sleeping in a tent in the woods. We talked for about 15 minutes and I left her with $5. She cried some more when I hugged her good bye.

I met three traveling guys outside of a Walmart store. One of them was juggling like a boss! They were all around 20 years old and had been traveling home from a fair but had run out of gas. I went in to Walmart and bought them a Subway Gift Certificate so that they could at least get some food while they waited for gas money.

I met a man recently begging for money in Anacortes. He had a worn out bicycle with all of his possessions strapped onboard. He carried a sign asking for 37 cents. We pulled over and searched through our car compartments for all of our spare change. As we handed over our “leftover” change his face lit up – revealing exactly 4 teeth. He was so grateful for the small amount of change that was rolling around in the forgotten places in our car.

Homeless people don’t want to be homeless. Everyone wants a place to belong, to feel safe and comfortable. They all have families who love them and wonder where they are. Yes, some of them have substance issues. So, give them food instead of money. Or maybe just make eye contact and say hello. Maybe ask them their name, tell them yours and shake their hand.

We’re all in this together. Isn’t it our job to love each other? “Love thy neighbor as thyself!” “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.” It doesn’t take much effort to see someone. To acknowledge their presence. Most of us have time, spare change or food to share. I don’t have a lot. I live in an RV – so technically I’m homeless too. So I will stop and say hello. If I have change to spare I will share it. If I’m in doubt about how the money will be used, I’ll bring food. Maybe all I will have to share is a hand shake or a hug but I vow not to ignore them anymore.