Some years ago I read Knowledge of Angels by Jill Paton Walsh. In it there was a passage about a girl who didn’t know that her looks were plain until her mother died. A mother who always made her feel special and precious and yes, beautiful. When I read that, I cried.
I didn’t know that I was not that ugly until I saw my reflection on the side panel of a well polished car. I remember the moment: a day girl’s parents were picking me up from boarding school to spend a weekend with them. As I approached their car my eyes were drawn to the image of a face with a lovely smile. With a shock I realised that the face was mine and like a lightning it hit me: I’m not that ugly!
Yes, my complexion is dark, my forehead is too high, my nose is crooked, my hair is coarse and my eyes are crossed as my mother had pointed out to the skinny, strong willed child with a tongue that was too sharp to be becoming! Yet, others had chosen to appreciate other qualities in me. Why couldn’t she?