Come and Sit Awhile

June 1, 2012

Oil on canvas by Hamilton Hamilton, 1894

This time two years ago, I spent many warm afternoons walking precincts for a fine political candidate. Traversing neighborhoods high and low, I sometimes encountered those high end areas with sprawling front lawns and unspeakable square footage. I marveled at the massive gates blocking front doors, and at the strange sight of welcome mats behind locked bars. I came to the unscientific conclusion that larger homes have larger dogs, while deciding that abundance of wealth brings a heavy payload of fear.

Lost in these reflections, I encountered one large home where the atmosphere was wholly different. I heard a rustle in the rose planter, and caught sight of a rabbit scampering away. Stepping up to the wide, open porch, I admired the comfortable scene. An old church pew faced the mountains, offering an unspoken invitation to sit awhile. A flag, red wagon, and wheelbarrow evoked strong images of childhood summers; a rocking chair suggested a motherly influence. No one answered the door at that house, yet how I was tempted to linger there.

That tranquil scene was not unlike the beautiful woman described in Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul (John and Stasi Eldredge). If God created women to reflect His glory, then beauty indwells each one of us. When we are willing to offer this beauty, to let down our defenses and reveal the mystery of a heart at peace, the effect is akin to those refreshing words, “Come and sit awhile.” A beautiful woman is at rest with herself, inviting others to be at rest with themselves as well. Fully present, she offers her heart and desires to know and treasure the hearts of others. This is the essence of Love.

*   *   *

Not many weeks after my campaign rambles, my brother and I surprised our Dad with a Father’s Day excursion to the “Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance” in Beverly Hills. While the men admired the glistening cars, I naturally turned my attention to the fantastic compositions of female clothing. In this crowd of women, where hairstyles and attire invariably spoke of money, the whole effect seemed jaded. I could not shake the impression that behind their hats and handbags, behind their purse dogs and slick husbands, these women were hiding.

Finally, I saw one young woman wearing heels, pearls, and a sleek black dress, with her hair pulled back in a pony tail. I cast a look of admiration her way, and she smiled back at me. It was a warm, genuine smile. I will always remember her as the most beautiful woman on Rodeo Drive.

So many women strive for perfection, driving their friends and relatives to work ever harder to compete. Their fear of not “having it together” condemns and threatens; such women are never safe. We, then, ought to become instead women of inner beauty, inviting others to find a home for their soul. In our spheres in this world today, we can be the ones who send the message of hope:

“All shall be well, and

All manner of thing shall be well.”

T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets