This I Believe

Sandra - Danbury, Connecticut
Entered on April 26, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
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Beauty and age, are they representative of each other? Parallel? Synonymous? I believe all three. To me, the timeline of life with all its experiences both good and bad results in a rich and real beauty. As time exerts its physical force upon me, my eyes may appear cloudy, my skin will sag, wrinkle, and whither, my posture will curve, my bones may, weaken, my walk will slow, and my hair will become brittle and gray, but the beauty of my life will surface. You see, to me a person who has lived a life that was given to them with pride and passion, with its struggles and good times, well, I could not think of a more beautiful thing.

I am a nurse. Each day I provide heath care to patients, mostly elderly. Health care is a broad spectrum term for what I do. While I am proud to be able to use my intelligence and education to provide the best physical care possible, on a spiritual and emotional level I receive so much more than I give. I am ever so fortunate to be a part of a person’s life, if even for a short hospital stay. To help them through sickness, trauma, recovery, even death, I am able to reach into their lives, to go beyond their physical illness and frailness and see the beauty of the human spirit. Though most days are busy and hectic, I make a point to sit with each patient and ask him or her to share a story with me about his or her life. Whether it’s about their childhood, or a loved one, a job, a favorite pet, or any life experience, I watch their eyes travel back, grasp onto a memory and bring it to the surface to hold it tight. They may smile, they may cry, they may laugh, whatever the emotion, it is felt in the heart and seen in their faces and it validates their life. Even those whose memories are lost to them are able to tell their stories if only by their gestures. Perhaps the way they smile, or the way they hold their head or arrange their hands in front of them, or fold their napkins at meal time. These simple activities of daily life can say so much about a person, about their beauty. I learn so much about life every day from those who have lived it. This is what beauty is to me.

So, as I come upon what is known as middle age, the middle of my life, I suppose, I can visit my past and smile towards my future but most of all, enjoy today. I know that as long as I live my life as I have been doing, with kindness and compassion in my heart, appreciation and contentment for all that I have, and knowing that I am living to the best of my ability by no one’s standards but my own, I will wear the signs of physical age as if it were a medal of honor on my lapel. And with each passing year the medal will only become brighter, shinier and more beautiful. This, I believe.