The Surprising Paradox of Beauty

"Shhh! She's home!"

I was with a group of anxious people last weekend waiting to surprise our mutual friend, Sara, for her 40th birthday. Her husband had organized the event and arranged for her to be out of the house while guests arrived. The room quieted down when we heard the garage door open.

My heart was racing and my hands were shaking. Another woman was pursing her lips in anticipation. One man was standing rigidly with his hands clasped together. All of us were feeling the nervous excitement of the pending surprise, and we had made quite an effort for the last month not to spoil it in advance.

How would she respond? Would she be upset? Pleased? Overwhelmed? It was as if we were on a roller coaster, chugging our way to the top of the first hill, seeing nothing but clouds in the sky and wondering what was on the other side.

It was unbearable.
It was wonderful.

When Sara entered the room we yelled, "SURPRISE!" and began to sing Happy Birthday.

She was stunned! And smiling! And laughing as she took in the scene before her - pizza, cocktail mixers, wine, a unicorn cake, and her close friends and family beaming with wide grins.

We rode the roller coaster of energy and love, sharing in hugs, a meal, and joyful conversation. The ride intensified and our love expanded as Sara opened gifts, then was surprised again by her husband with tickets to see Hamilton in San Francisco. Some of us teared up with Sara, knowing her passion for the musical, our faces hurting for the constant smiling.

It was unbearable.
It was wonderful.

There is beauty in this paradox, a mysterious force in our inner core keeping us balanced on the tightrope between fear and excitement. It's a force we often forget that we can trust to keep us inspired and moving forward.

What brings you both fear and excitement?

Will you trust in the beauty to keep you balanced?

Some Doorways from this week:

  • I helped with a fundraising 5k race this weekend, and I made a mistake while handing out the prizes. I was grateful for the forgiveness and grace offered by the racers and my fellow volunteers.
  • I had my last dental cleaning with my hygienist who is retiring, and her kind, encouraging words for me were beautiful. (Love you, Jill!)
  • We had a couple of days of true spring weather (in between the snow and cold!), and I was in awe at the brilliant green grass of the turning season.


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