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Beauty

  There were a sensitivity and a beauty to her that have nothing to do with looks. She was one to be listened to, whose words were so easy to take to heart. (来源:最老牌的英语学习网站 http://www.EnglishCN.com)

  It is said that the true nature of being is veiled. The labor of words, the expression of art, the seemingly ceaseless buzz that is human thought all have in common the need to get at what really is so. The hope to draw close to and possess the truth of being can be a feverish one. In some cases it can even be fatal, if pleasure is one's truth and its attainment more important than life itself. In other lives, though, the search for what is truthful gives life.

  I used to find notes left in the collection basket, beautiful notes about my homilies and about the writer's thoughts on the daily scriptural readings. The person who penned the notes would add reflections to my thoughts and would always include some quotes from poets and mystics he or she had read and remembered and loved. The notes fascinated me. Here was someone immersed in a search for truth and beauty. Words had been treasured, words that were beautiful. And I felt as if the words somehow delighted in being discovered, for they were obviously very generous to the as yet anonymous writer of the notes. And now this person was in turn learning the secret of sharing them. Beauty so shines when given away. The only truth that exists is, in that sense, free.

  It was a long time before I met the author of the notes.

  One Sunday morning, I was told that someone was waiting for me in the office. The young person who answered the rectory door said that it was "the woman who said she left all the notes." When I saw her I was shocked, since I immediately recognized her from church but had no idea that it was she who wrote the notes. She was sitting in a chair in the office with her hands folded in her lap. Her head was bowed and when she raised it to look at me, she could barely smile without pain. Her face was disfigured, and the skin so tight from surgical procedures that smiling or laughing was very difficult for her. She had suffered terribly from treatment to remove the growths that had so marred her face.

  We chatted for a while that Sunday morning and agreed to meet for lunch later that week.

  As it turned out we went to lunch several times, and she always wore a hat during the meal. I think that treatments of some sort had caused a lot of her hair to fall out. We shared things about our lives. I told her about my schooling and growing up. She told me that she had worked for years for an insurance company. She never mentioned family, and I did not ask.

  We spoke of authors we both had read, and it was easy to tell that books are a great love of hers.

  I have thought about her often over the years and how she struggled in a society that places an incredible premium on looks, class, wealth and all the other fineries of life. She suffered from a disfigurement that cannot be made to look attractive. I know that her condition hurt her deeply.

  Would her life have been different had she been pretty? Chances are it would have. And yet there were a sensitivity and a beauty to her that had nothing to do with looks. She was one to be listened to, whose words were so easy to take to heart. Her words came from a wounded but loving heart, very much like all hearts, but she had more of a need to be aware of it, to live with it and learn from it. She possessed a fine-tuned sense of beauty. Her only fear in life was the loss of a friend.

  How long does it take most of us to reach that level of human growth, if we ever get there? We get so consumed and diminished, worrying about all the things that need improving, we can easily forget to cherish those things that last. Friendship, so rare and so good, just needs our care--maybe even the simple gesture of writing a little note now and then, or the dropping of some beautiful words in a basket, in the hope that such beauty will be shared and taken to heart.

  The truth of her life was a desire to see beyond the surface for a glimpse of what it is that matters. She found beauty and grace and they befriended her, and showed her what is real.


  美丽人生


  她有着一种与外表无关的灵气和美丽。她的话语轻而易举地征服了人心,她正是我们要聆听的声音。

  很多人都说人生的真谛是个未知的概念。言词的费力诠释、艺术的着力表现还有人类那似乎永无休止的纷繁思考,三者都苦苦追寻人生的真谛。希望走近以至完全把握存在的真意可以令人十分狂热。有时候,有些人以自己笃信的真理为志趣,追寻真理甚于保全生命,于是就有舍生取义之举。然而,也有另外的一种人生,他们在寻求真谛的过程中灌溉生命。

  过去,我常常在教堂的心意篮里面发现一些优美的小短文,有些是关于我的布道,有些是作者日常读《圣经》的感想。写这些短文的人不仅对我的一些观点加以反思,同时还会引用一些他/她曾经读过的,令他/她难忘又喜爱的诗人或者神秘主义者的话。我给这些短文迷住了。我看到了一个执着于追寻真与美的人。其珍而重之的字句,优美动人。我还感觉到好像那些字句也乐于让我们发现,它们是那么毫无保留地,慷慨地为这无名氏作者借用,而现在轮到这位无名氏来学习与人分享这些美文的奥秘。分享令美愈加闪耀生辉,在这个意义上说,其实世上唯一的真理是分毫不费的。

 
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