Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pretty

The other day my friend Matt and I were talking about adversity - about how some people persevere and shine because of it, while others simply whine, wimper, and wither. We consider ourselves in the former classification.

The conversation got me thinking about a moment in time that completely changed my perspective of... damned near everything. As is typical of the greatest epiphanies in my life, it was a very quiet, completely unsophisticated, ingenuous moment.

The moment occurred about five days before John died. He had been in and out of it, mostly out of it. On one of those days, I was sitting with him as he was sleeping. He kind of stirred and opened his eyes for the first time in a nearly two days. He just looked at me for a minute, managed a slight smile, and very weakly said just one word. He said, "Pretty." I just smiled back at him as he drifted back to sleep.

To this day, I have no idea if he was commenting on some distant place of splendor that he was already seeing, or my eyes, or what. It didn't matter, and it still doesn't. The lesson I took from it was that... here was this man, his body wasted and festering, wracked with pain, and yet the one word that was left in his (at one time vast) vocabulary, the one word he felt was worthy of expending his dwindling energy, was "pretty."

If he could find beauty in the midst of all of that he was going through at that moment, I too ought to be able to find it anywhere.

And I do.

Pretty.

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