Looking Past the Ugly

A friend of mine had this as her tag line on her blog: “I went out to save the world today but got distracted by something sparkly.”

I’m horrible at remembering quotes but that I can remember πŸ™‚ Probably because it describes me. I like pretty things. I’m never quite sure if it’s a character flaw or strength.

There’s a commercial that keeps catching my ear lately. It’s for a home makeover show. I love all kinds of makeovers. As long as they can fit them in 30 minutes or less. (Don’t forget the word distracted is also in that quote.)

The guy in the commercial says, “Sometimes you have to look past the ugly.” The first time I heard that my mind immediately went to the men we serve.

I remember a story our intake person shared one day about a new man. He’d scrounged up enough money to take the bus to our Center. While he was on the bus a woman looked at him and said “Can’t you smell yourself?” That sticks in my mind too.

I cannot imagine the humiliation of that. Did she think he didn’t want to bathe? To clean the filth of his life off himself?

Yes, we have to look past the ugly. The exterior ugly can be taken care of and sometimes in 30 minutes. We give them a hygiene bag upon admission that includes the basic toiletries. Along with clean clothes they’re given and a clean bed to sleep in the ugly begins to fade away.

The interior ugly takes longer. And it’s the hardest to look past.

Much of it can’t be looked past but must be looked at head on and dealt with. The addiction itself isn’t the ugliest part. The real ugly is often what fuels their addiction. And there are so many different kinds of ugly.

This ugly isn’t confined to our guys in recovery. I’ve got to look inside at my ugly parts too. The dark places that can be easy to dress up and disguise.

Chapel at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina

And then I find myself clothed in grace. Grace that is fit for me and clothes me inside and out. Grace that is comfortable like your favorite pair of jeans. Yes, clothed in grace that looks past the ugly.

She takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name

What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings
Because grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things

Grace makes beauty out of ugly things.Β 

Grace, music: U2, lyrics: Bono